COVID-19 vaccination drive begins for citizens of 18-44 age group

By Express News Service
NEW DELHI:  The COVID-19 vaccination drive for people in the age group of 18- 44 began on Saturday at select centres in a few cities, with limited access amid a huge  crisis of vaccines in the country.

Beginning this month, those between 18 and 44 are entitled to jabs against COVID-19, in addition to the priority populations, who had become eligible for the shots from earlier. States like Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana have announced Phase-III of the COVID-19 inoculation drive at limited centres.

In the national capital, vaccination for this group was carried out only at one centre and the Aam Admi Party government said that the drive will be expanded for this age group from Monday. Delhi has received 4.5 lakh vaccine doses, which is being distributed in all districts, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said. 

From Saturday on the CoWin portal, the types of vaccines and their prices have neem displayed, for locations where vaccination has opened for the 18-44 age group. This, the government said, will help citizens make an informed choice at the time of booking appointments at private facilities.

The Centre also underscored that it has so far provided nearly 16.37 crore vaccine doses to states free of cost, of which, the total consumption including wastages is 15,58,48,782 doses till Saturday morning.

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare also said that more than 79 lakh doses – 79,13,518 – are still available with the states to be administered, while a little over 17 lakh doses will be dispatched in addition within the next three days.

This stock, supplied under the Central quota, can be used only to inoculate those above 45. For the younger lot, states and private hospitals can only use vaccines procured directly by them.