New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: India on Thursday expanded its vaccination drive against COVID-19 with the start of the third phase of the inoculation drive. Under the third phase of the world's biggest vaccination drive against the deadly pathogen, the country aims to vaccinate all those who are 45 and above 45 years of age.

According to the health ministry, advance appointments for vaccination can be booked through http://cowin.gov.in, or one can visit their nearest vaccination centre after 3 pm and get on-site registration done.

People started getting the vaccine jab across the country at various vaccination centres. Visuals posted by ANI showed long queues of people waiting for the vaccine jab in Delhi, Jaipur, Uttar Pradesh and various parts of the country.

This comes at a time when India is witnessing a second surge in coronavirus infections with over 72,000 new COVID-19 cases and 459 related deaths reported in the last 24 hours. Amid the alarming rise, the Centre has also warned that the situation is going from "bad to worse" and urged states to achieve 100 per cent vaccination coverage of those above the age of 45 years in surge districts within the next two weeks.

Here's how you can book your appointment on CoWIN Portal:

Step 1: Log in to cowin.gov.in and enter your mobile number

Step 2: An OTP will be sent to your mobile number

Step 3: Click on the verify button after entering the OTP

Step 4: After you enter the OTP, the Registration for Vaccination page will open up

Step 5: Enter details, such as your photo ID proof, asked by the Registration for Vaccination page. It will also ask if you have any comorbidities. This can be answered by clicking on 'yes' or 'no'

Step 6: Once the details are entered for registration, click the "Register" button at the bottom right

Step 7: A confirmation message will be sent on your registered mobile number on successful registration

Step 8: Once the registration is done, you will be shown the "Account Details". You can schedule your appointment from the "Account Details" page

Step 9: Click on the schedule appointment button and schedule your appointment as per your wish.

India had started COVID-19 vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 with two vaccines -- Covishield (Oxford-AstraZeneca's vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India) and Covaxin (manufactured by Bharat Biotech Limited). In the first phase, healthcare workers were administered the vaccine. The vaccination of the Frontline Workers (FLWs) started on February 2.

The next phase of COVID-19 vaccination commenced on March 1 for those who are over 60 years of age and for people aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions. The cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 6.43 crore, the health ministry has informed.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan