People over 18 years can register for COVID-19 vaccines from April 24

People over 18 years can register for COVID-19 vaccines from April 24

All above 18 years of age can register for a COVID-19 vaccine from Saturday, April 24, 2021, Ram Sewak Sharma, CEO, National Health Authority told The Hindu. However, they will get appointments only after hospitals publish their schedules on CoWin, the nodal site for coordinating the vaccine drive.

On Monday, the Centre announced that everyone above 18 years old will be eligible for a vaccine from May.

Estimates for India’s adult population range from 800 to 900 billion and discounting those above 45 years and the 130 million who’ve got at least one dose — atleast 500-600 million are expected to register for doses from Saturday. Mr. Sharma said that the Centre was “upgrading infrastructure” to accommodate these numbers.

Unlike the ongoing vaccination drive, where the Centre is the sole buyer and supplier of vaccines to States, the May rollout will also include doses that have been independently purchased by States from vaccine manufacturers. It could also include shots of Sputnik V, the Russian vaccine authorised by the Central Drug Regulator.

However, both Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute of India are fulfilling existing commitments to the Centre and have said that they are unable to substantially ramp up supply before July. It’s also unclear when the first doses of Sputnik V will be available.

Under the existing arrangement, beneficiaries can register for a vaccination slot and opt for a centre nearest to them. There is also an option for registering on the spot. Currently vaccinations at private facilities are charged at ₹250. Those at government centres will continue to get the vaccine for free, the Centre said on Thursday. Going ahead too, the Centre will continue to be the buyer of half the approved doses of Covaxin and Covishield.

SII has said it will charge States who enter into agreements for them ₹400 for a dose and private hospitals at ₹600 a dose. Currently it has sold, or is fulfilling orders, worth 210 million doses of vaccine at ₹150-180 a dose. The prices to be quoted by Covaxin and Sputnik V are as yet unknown.

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