New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: 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 on day 1. 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 looming over the start of the third phase of the vaccination drive from May 1 as many states 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 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, in Delhi, the state government has approved the purchase of over 1.30 crore vaccine doses, however, the consignment is yet to arrive and the vaccination drive for 18-plus citizens is likely to be delayed or might not start in a big way on May 1. 

"We don't have vaccines as of now. We have made requests to the company regarding vaccines, we will tell you when it comes", Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Thursday said as quoted by ANI.

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 as quoted by ANI.

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.

The Gujarat government has also said that it will announce a revised schedule once it receives the vaccine doses from the manufacturers. The Gujarat government has ordered 1 crore doses of Covishield vaccine from SII and 50 lakh doses of Covaxin vaccine from Bharat Biotech, Hyderabad. However, the delivery of 1.5 crore vaccine doses is still awaited.


(With Inputs from Agencies)

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan