Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], May 1 (ANI): Amid the commencement of the third phase of nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive for people between the age group of 18-45 years from today, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday said the state government has decided to vaccinate people aged between 18 to 44 years free of cost.
Speaking to reporters here today, the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister said, "We have decided to give free vaccines to people between 18-44 years of age. People above 45 years of age are being given free vaccine by the Government of India."
He further stated that seven Uttar Pradesh districts with highest positivity rate and active cases started vaccination at 85 separate centres set up for those aged above 18 years. These districts include Lucknow, Prayagraj, Varanasi, Gorahpur, Bareilly, Kanpur and Meerut.
"2500 centres for 45+ have begun phase 3 vaccination today. We've also begun vaccination for 18+ age category and included seven districts where positivity rate and active cases are highest including Lucknow, Prayagraj, Varanasi, Gorahpur, Bareilly, Kanpur and Meerut across 85 separate centres set up for those aged above 18 years," informed the Chief Minister.
His remarks came during his visit to the vaccination center at Avantibai Hospital to inspect the third phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive, that began today.
He added, "In the next five days, vaccination will be done in these 85 centres at 7 districts. After this, everyone will be given vaccines in other districts."
The Chief Minister further informed that the state government has placed an order for one crore vaccines and have also floated global tenders for 5 crore vaccines for Uttar Pradesh, expressing confidence in taking forward the vaccination drive successfully in the state.
"We ordered 1 crore vaccines. We have received vaccines for 45+ cateogory too. We have purchased directly from the comapnies. We have also floated global tenders for 5 crore vaccines in the state. I am sure that we will be able to take this forward successfully," said the UP CM.
India started the vaccination drive for those in the 18-44 age bracket from Saturday as the country continues to battle the second wave of COVID-19.
However, some states have flagged the shortage of vaccines and expressed their inability to start vaccination of people above 18 years from today.
The Centre on April 19 had announced a ''liberalised'' policy, making all above 18 years of age eligible to get vaccinated from May 1. It has also allowed state governments and private hospitals to purchase vaccines from manufacturers. Per the revised rules, the centre will receive 50 per cent of the vaccines supplied; states and private hospitals will get the remaining doses.
As per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, more than 2.45 crore beneficiaries register themselves on Co-WIN portal till 9.30 pm on Friday for the Phase III of the vaccination drive.
However, due to the delay in procurement of vaccines leading to a shortage, several states have said they won't be able to kick off the drive on Saturday.
Meanwhile, according to the Union Health Ministry, Uttar Pradesh is among the ten states that reported 73.71 per cent of the new cases in the country. The state reported 34,372 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, said the ministry.
With 3,10,783 active cases at present, Uttar Pradesh is among the ten states cumulatively accounting for 78.22 per cent of India's total active cases, as per the ministry.
According to the data provided by the Union Health Ministry, Uttar Pradesh is among the ten states that account for 76.75 per cent of the new deaths in the country. The state recorded 332 deaths in the last 24 hours, said the ministry.
India for the first time has reported more than 4 lakh new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours.
A total of 4,01,993 fresh COVID-19 cases were recorded taking the cumulative count of the cases to 1,91,64,969, the Union Health Ministry reported on Saturday.
With 3,523 people succumbing to the infection in the last 24 hours, the death toll has mounted to 2,11,853. Currently, there are 32,68,710 active cases of COVID-19 in the country. (ANI)