Private hospital chains Apollo, Max and Fortis will start Covid shots for people between 18 and 44 from today, when vaccinations are opened to all adults across the country. Several states have said they cannot launch vaccinations for 18-plus people as planned as they do not have enough vaccine stocks.
Apollo said it would start these vaccinations at limited centres in the country.
"The vaccination program will begin with limited quantities and will be ramped up in the weeks ahead. Apollo Hospitals will also be organizing special camps for corporates," said the Apollo group in a statement. Apollo says it will use Covishield shots.
Max hospitals also said they are getting ready to roll out vaccines for 18 years and above starting today.
Fortis Healthcare said it would start with its centres across north India and expand the drive to other cities when "supplies are made available by the authorities". It said it will administer Covaxin shots at Rs 1250 per dose, which is inclusive of the cost of the vaccine and administration charges.
In the latest phase of the nationwide inoculation drive that started in January, states and private companies can buy doses directly from manufacturers. Vaccine-makers will sell 50 per cent of their doses to the state government and private companies at higher rates while providing the rest to the Centre at existing rates.
Many states have complained about the differential pricing and say they have been told by the manufacturers that stocks will arrive later.
The companies say they will prioritise the Centre, which will continue vaccinating those above 45.
Effectively, many among the younger beneficiaries may need to wait for now.
Serum announced a price of Rs 400 and Bharat Biotech set the prices at Rs 600 for states. Both companies later slashed the prices for state governments with Serum bringing it down to Rs 300 and Bharat Biotech reducing it to Rs Rs 400 per dose.
Private hospitals have to buy vaccines at up to Rs 1,200 per dose from Bharat Biotech and Rs 600 from Serum Institute of India.
Apollo said the vaccines would be administered to those who have registered on the CoWIN app and have made an appointment for the vaccine jab at Apollo Hospitals.
"The second wave has come like a tsunami with an exponential rise in the number of cases. The second wave of infections has seen younger patients getting affected and vaccinating everyone above the age of 18 will help in stopping the relentless rise in COVID cases and bring a COVID-free future closer to reality," said Shobana Kamineni, Executive Vice Chairperson, Apollo Hospitals Group.