The registration process for the third phase of the Covid-19 vaccination drive began on Wednesday with 1.33 crore people applying on the government's Co-WIN portal. The third phase of India's vaccination drive is scheduled to commence on May 1 under which the country's large 18-plus population will get the vaccine jab against the deadly Covid-19 virus.
Meanwhile, clouds of uncertainty are looming over many states as they have reported a shortage of vaccines and have asked the manufacturers -- Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat BioTech -- to deliver vaccine doses in their respective regions. Even as lakhs registered to get the vaccine jab, states like Maharashtra went back to the drawing board, not knowing when they could start the vaccinations for above 18.
Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Wednesday, while announcing free vaccines to its citizens above 18 years of age, also said that the third phase of the vaccination drive against the COVID-19 might not begin on May 1 because of the unavailability of sufficient doses of vaccines. "We are all eager to know whether the vaccination will start from May 1. The answer is that the vaccination will not start from May 1. The reason is that (sufficient vaccines) are not available immediately with us today itself. We are going to vaccinate for free. But we (18 to 44 age group citizens) will have to go about it with patience and sensibly", Rajesh Tope said as quoted by news agency PTI.
Vaccine shortage to inoculate 18-plus citizens from May 1 was also reported in Chhattisgarh with the state health minister stating that the state doesn't have sufficient vaccine doses to vaccinate a 1.20 crore population in the state. "We don't have sufficient vaccine doses to start vaccinations from May 1 for the 18-plus population. Even if we have 1 lakh doses how many people we can inoculate out of the total 1.20 crore population", Chhattisgarh Health Minister TS Singh Deo said as quoted by news agency ANI.
Meanwhile, 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.
In Madhya Pradesh, the state government has cancelled all vaccination session on April 29 and April 30 for 45+ and 60+ in order to facilitate the preparations for the vaccination of 18+ from May 1. "All vaccination sessions will remain suspended in Madhya Pradesh on April 29 & April 30 so that planning, training & dry run can be conducted for the inoculation drive for people between 18 years & 44 years of age", vaccination in-charge, Madhya Pradesh said.
The Punjab government has also indicated that it could not start the vaccination process for the 18+ population from May 1 as the state is facing a shortage of vaccine doses. The Congress government in the state has also written to SII for vaccine doses to start vaccination in time but has not received a response yet.
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani made it clear that the Covid vaccination drive for the 18-45 age group in the state will start latest by May 15 instead of the first day of the next month.
The registration process for the vaccination of people from this category has begun in the state. However, the pharma companies to which the state government has given orders for vaccine doses are yet to deliver them. "Vaccination for 18-45 age group will begin once we get substantial doses of vaccines from the pharma companies, which is likely to happen soon. Latest by May 15, the drive will start as we expect to get vaccine doses any time before that date," Rupani said in his social media address to thestate for the fourth phase of the inoculation drive.
With agencies inputs