People above the age of 18 years can begin registering for the COVID-19 vaccination from Saturday, April 28, using the Co-WIN portal and Aarogya Setu app. The vaccine rollout is expected to begin from May 1 for those who register. The decision of allowing the vaccination to be open for everyone above the age of 18 from May 1 was taken in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 19. The third phase of the vaccination drive, which is currently ongoing, is open to all those above the age of 45. RS Sharma, Chairperson of an empowered committee on COVID-19 vaccination told CNBC-TV18 on Thursday, that an estimated 60 to 70 lakh registrations per day are expected to be carried out over the Co-WIN portal when registrations open.
Speaking to the channel, Sharma said that the registration and the getting an appointment are two separate processes. The Union government has directed vaccine centres to register on the Co-WIN portal and publish their vaccine schedules there as well.
The Union government will continue to provide free vaccinations for people above the age of 45 years at government-run hospitals; however, beneficiaries will have to pay for the vaccines at these facilities in the next phase of the vaccination drive.
In his earlier address to the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that the Union government was working hard over the past year to ensure the maximum number of Indians are able to get the vaccine in the shortest possible time.
Vaccine manufacturers have also been told to supply 50% of their monthly Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) doses to the Indian government, and can supply the remaining 50% to state governments and the open market. Further, private hospitals will have to secure vaccines from the 50% earmarked for state governments and the open market. This paves the way for states to procure vaccines directly from manufacturers.
The government had earlier announced that India will waive its 10% import duty on foreign vaccines, in a bid to boost vaccine supply amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.