- over 2.45 crore people registered themselves for phase-3
- Several states, ahead of phase-3, said they were running low on stocks
- Tamil Nadu has said it's waiting for 1.5 crore doses
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Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday said over 2.45 crore people have registered themselves on Co-Win, the government's registration website, for the third phase.
Delhi, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Bengal, Kerala, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Punjab are among the states that said they're running low on vaccine stocks ahead of Phase 3.
The centre has provided "more than 16.33 crore Covid vaccine doses to states and union territories for free," Dr Harsh Vardhan said in a tweet on Friday evening, stressing that "more than 1 crore doses are still available in stocks with them". Of this, "the total consumption including wastages is 15,33,56,503 doses", an official statement said.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday urged citizens not to queue up for Covid shots. "Don't queue up for vaccines tomorrow. As soon as vaccines arrive, we will let you know," Mr Kejriwal said. Delhi is set 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 over next two months," Mr Kejriwal said.
In Mumbai, vaccination for the age group 18-44 will be done at five centres today - Nair Hospital, BKC Jumbo Facility, Cooper Hospital, Seven Hills Hospital and Rajawadi Hospital. At least 20,000 doses of vaccines are available for the age group, a civic body official said.
Tamil Nadu has said it's waiting for 1.5 crore doses ordered from Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute. Bengal too is running low on vaccines and may not be able to kick off vaccine drive from today for those between 18-44 years, a senior health department official told news agency PTI on Friday. Telangana too has said it's running low on vaccine stocks.
For the latest phase of the inoculation drive that started in January, the centre has tweaked the vaccine policy to 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 change in policy, however, has brought the government under criticism.
The Supreme Court on Friday questioned the government over different prices of vaccines for the states and centre. "Why is the government not buying 100 per cent of doses produced in this time? Why should there be two prices for the centre and the states... what is the rationale?" the top court asked, and told the centre that India must follow the "national immunisation model which we had followed since Independence".
Last week, the government said its procurement price for both vaccines - Bharat Biotech's Covaxin and the Serum Institute's Covishield - would remain at Rs 150 per dose, and that the vaccines it procures will be free for states. Amid the controversy, Bharat Biotech has reduced the price for states from Rs 600 to Rs 400 per dose while the SII has cut the prices from Rs 400 to Rs 300.
India has been witnessing an alarming surge in Covid cases over the last few weeks. Experts believe increasing the vaccine coverage will give a boost to the country's fight against Covid. Over 15 crore doses have been administered since the vaccines were first rolled out in January, as per official data.