The third phase of the Covid-19 vaccination drive for all adults in the country begins Saturday as announced by the Centre earlier this month. Several states, however, have told their citizens to not line up outside vaccination centres as yet as they have not received enough stock of the vaccines from manufacturers to kick off this phase of the immunisation drive.
Lav Agarwal, the joint secretary in the Union ministry of health and family welfare, on Friday assured people that the Covid-19 immunisation campaign will soon be operational across all regions of the country. "Vaccination will be launched tomorrow in some states, which have already coordinated with manufacturers. Any new exercises or process takes time to pick up the pace and gradually more centres will be increased. The programme will stabilise in some time," Agarwal said, according to news agency PTI.
The official's statement is in line with the decisions of several states and Union territories, including Delhi, Odisha, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, and Punjab, which have said they do not have adequate doses of vaccine to start vaccinating individuals in the 18-44 age group and will launch the drive at a later date this month.
Some states have announced Phase 3 of the Covid-19 inoculation drive in selected districts, while some announced vaccination for different age groups also such as those above 35 years.
On Friday, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal told people that his government is in touch with the vaccine manufacturers and assured them that the doses will arrive in the city in a day or two following which the campaign will be launched. Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani also made a statement earlier in the week and asserted that the vaccination in the third phase will begin across the state latest by May 15.
Maharashtra government earlier said that it won't begin the campaign until it receives a substantial number of Covid-19 vaccine vials to inoculate a large number of people eligible in this phase. However, on Friday night, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) announced five centres in the state's Mumbai city where vaccination for the age group 18-44 years will begin on Saturday.
People will have to pay for the vaccine doses in this phase but they will be available free of cost at central government hospitals. Manufacturers have been allowed to sell 50% of their doses to the Centre, which will be administered to people for free, and the state governments and private hospitals can procure the remaining at the pre-determined price. Serum Institute of India has priced its vaccine Covishield at ₹300 per dose for state governments and ₹600 for private hospitals and the other manufacturer Bharat Biotech will sell its shot Covaxin to state governments for ₹400 per dose, ₹1,200 per dose for private hospitals, and for the international market, the vaccine will be sold for $15-20 per dose.
Registrations for Phase 3 of the Covid-19 vaccination began on Wednesday evening and the immediate rush at 4pm, when the registrations opened, led the CoWin portal server to be down for a while.
From May 1, the types of anti-coronavirus disease vaccines and their prices will be displayed on the CoWIN portal for the citizens to make an informed choice at the time of booking an appointment at a private vaccination centre, according to the Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy document cited by PTI.