Speaking at an event organised by local industry lobby IMC, Vardhan admitted that these are trying times, adding that the government policies are shaped by the evolving situation. He credited 'collaborative efforts' of all stakeholders for the world's largest vaccine drive progressing at a 'rapid pace', claiming that India has been the fastest country to touch 12 crore jabs. The minister said at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday it was decided to liberalise the procurement, pricing and administering of COVID-19 vaccines, wherein all citizens above the age of 18 shall be eligible to get vaccinated from May 1. "This will further accelerate the pace of our vaccine drive while incentivising and existing and new players to ramp up production in the country," Vardhan said. "These are trying times for our country, keeping in view the unprecedented surge in COVID cases. The situation seems overwhelming once again, but this time we are better informed about the threat we are dealing with. We've the tools to tackle it," he added.