Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain has said that the state government has decided to procure 67 lakh doses of Covishield vaccine, three lakh of which will be delivered by May 3. He added that the city currently doesn't have vaccines for the 18-45 age group whose immunisation is set to start on Saturday.
Official sources said inoculation of people in the 18-45 age group may not kick off in Delhi on May 1 as scheduled for across the country, citing the first consignment of Covishield vaccine from Serum Institute of India will reach the national capital in the first week of May.
Around 1.5 crore people are targeted to be vaccinated in Delhi, of which 31 lakh have received at least one dose so far, they said.
The Delhi government is taking the help of the voters' list to ascertain the number of eligible beneficiaries. According to it, there are around 90 lakh people between 18-45 years while 60 lakh people are above 45 years.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who held a meeting with Jain and a number of officers about the next phase of the vaccination drive, announced on Thursday that a plan has been formulated to vaccinate all adults against coronavirus within the next three months.
He said vaccination centres would be set up on a large scale and those eligible must come forward to take the jab.
An official said the government is planning to set up vaccination centres at varied places such as auditoriums and stadiums to accommodate a high number of beneficiaries.
Pre-registration will be mandatory for beneficiaries in the 18-45 age group to get the jabs and that there will be no walk-ins for this category for now.
According to official sources, the Delhi government will procure 67 lakh doses of Covishield vaccine from Serum Institute of India and the first tranche of three lakh doses will be delivered by May 3.
A Delhi government statement said an order for 3 lakh vaccine doses has been placed already, and "orders for the rest of the doses will be placed as soon as possible".
"Orders for 50 lakh vaccine doses are being placed," it said.
At his residence earlier in the day, Jain told reporters, "At present, we don't have vaccine. We have requested the companies to provide it."
Later, in a statement, he said the availability of vaccines is a must for inoculation to begin.
"As soon as these things are made clear and we receive the vaccines, we will let you know in a couple of days or so. We haven't yet received from companies the schedule, which includes how many vials will reach on which dates," the statement quoted the health minister as saying.
Kejriwal had on Monday said everybody aged above 18 would be administered COVID-19 vaccines free of cost in Delhi. He had said his government had approved the procurement of 1.34 crore vaccine doses from various manufacturers.
According to the purchase order with Serum Institute of India, the manufacturer must submit a government testing laboratory – batch release certificate for every batch of vaccine at the time of delivery. In case of failure on part of the supplier to furnish such a report, the batch of vaccines will not be accepted.
It also said that samples of supplies from each batch may be chosen at the point of supply or distribution storage points for testing and sent to empanelled laboratories or Government Drugs Testing Laboratory.
"The supplies will be deemed to be completed only upon receipt of the quality certificates from the laboratories. Samples which do not meet quality requirement shall render the relevant batches liable to be rejected," it said.
A government official had on Wednesday told PTI that inoculation of the 18-45 age group is likely to have a moderate start and will be ramped up gradually. Vaccine will be delivered to the city government in phases. Private hospitals will have to procure vaccines directly from manufacturers, he had said.
The Centre will continue to provide vaccine for those aged above 45.
Asked if more vaccine centres will be added considering the increased number of beneficiaries, the official had said, "A little bit expansion might be done, but by and large the number will remain the same."
At present, jabs are being given at around 500 centres in the national capital.
With PTI inputs