New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: While the whole country has ramped up its preparation to start the "accelerated and liberalised" phase 3 of coronavirus vaccination, India's two worst-hit cities -- Mumbai and Delhi -- on Thursday hinted that the third phase of inoculation drive will unlikely begin from May 1 due to a shortage of COVID-19 vaccines.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Thursday said that the national capital "does not have vaccines" for the inoculation of persons in the 18 to 44 age group and purchase orders have been placed with manufacturers for the same.

"At present, we don't have vaccines. We have requested the companies to provide it. We will tell you in a day or two," Jain was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

Similarly, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's top official Ashwini Bhide on Thursday also hinted that the third phase of the vaccination drive will unlikely begin from May 1 because of the shortage of vaccines.

In a series of Tweets, Bhide, however, assured people in the age group of 45 to 60 that the city has enough vaccines for them, saying the Mumbai civic body will add nearly 500 more public and private COVID vaccination centres (CVCs) for the drive.

"Besides, vaccination for the new age group will start only after enough vaccines are made available, and not exactly on 1st May. So senior citizens need not worry that once the new drive starts they will be deprived of vaccination," she tweeted.

"Please wait till we have adequate vaccine stock and you can get your jab without having to stand in long queues. We will continue to put out more details. Please take care. Wear Double Mask at vaccination centres," she added.

Notably, both Mumbai and Delhi are the two worst-hit cities in India by COVID-19. While the COVID-19 case tally in Mumbai stands at 6.40 lakh, the deadly infection has affected over 10.72 lakh people in Delhi. The two cities have imposed lockdown and restrictions and have urged people to take all necessary precautions to break the chain of the infection.

Meanwhile, the "accelerated and liberalised" phase 3 of coronavirus vaccination that will include inoculating those between the age group of 18 to 45 years will begin from May 1. The beneficiaries, according to the Centre, can register themselves via CoWIN portal and Aarogya Setu app.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma