A few private centers in Delhi may start coronavirus vaccine roll-out today as India enters the third stage of world's biggest inoculation drive amid an alarming surge in infections and vaccine net widens to all adults. The national capital has not received its vaccine supplies yet, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Friday, urging people in the age group of 18-44 to not queue up outside vaccine centers for Covid shots.
Vaccination rollout for the age group started at one of the centres managed by Max Healthcare chain in south Delhi's Panchsheel this morning. The heathcare chain's Pusa Road, Patparganj, and Shalimar Bagh centres are also expected to roll out vaccines.
Two centers of Fortis hospital chain were also expected to begin the rollout for 18-44 age group. However, there is no clarity yet.
No on-site registration or walk-in facility is available, officials have insisted, asking people to register in advance. Officials are likely to give a clarity in a few hours.
Apollo Hospital has said it will start vaccine drive from Monday.
Bharat Biotech's Covaxin is available for Rs 1,250 per dose while the Serum Institute of India's Covishield is available for Rs 800 per dose in private hospitals.
For the third phase of inoculation drive, the centre has tweaked the policy to allow allow states and private entities to buy doses directly from vaccine makers. Manufacturers are free to supply 50 per cent of the doses to states and in the open market The central government is procuring both these vaccines at Rs 150 per dose. However, the change in policy and difference in pricing has not been received very well by critics.
The Supreme Court also questioned the government on Friday over the different prices for states and centre.
On Friday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, in a televised press briefing, said: "Don't queue up for vaccines tomorrow. As soon as vaccines arrive we will let you know, then you can come for shots. We appeal to you not to crowd vaccine centres in the next few days."
Delhi is likely to receive around 3 lakh Covishield doses by Sunday, he added. "Both vaccine-makers (Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech) will give us 67 lakh doses each," Mr Kejriwal said.
As nearly 20 states red-flagged vaccine shortage ahead of phase-3, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said the states still have 1 crore doses with them.