Three big private hospital chains -- Apollo, Fortis and Max -- on Friday announced the launch of Covid-19 immunisation drive for the 18-44 age group at limited centres in the country from May 1 while the Delhi government said it will start the vaccination exercise once it receives doses from the manufacturers.
While Apollo Hospitals said jabs will be given at "limited facilities", Max Healthcare announced the drive will begin from "select hospitals in the network in the NCR of Delhi".
Fortis Healthcare, in a statement, said people in the 18-44 age group will be administered Covaxin for Rs 1,250, which will include the cost of vaccine and administration charges, at its "centres across north India from tomorrow (Saturday)".
Fortis centres in other cities will commence vaccination as soon as supplies are made available by the authorities, it said.
"Apollo continues to participate in the world's largest preventive vaccination drive. Vaccines available at limited Apollo hospitals for more than 18 (years) from May 1. Pre-registration mandatory on CoWIN app. Stay safe," the healthcare group tweeted.
It said the vaccination drive will begin with limited quantities and will be ramped up in the weeks ahead.
"Apollo Hospitals will also be organising special camps for corporates. The vaccines would be priced as per the guidelines issued by the central government," its statement read.
Shobana Kamineni, the executive vice chairperson of Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited, said, "The government's decision to open up the vaccination programme and permit private hospitals to procure vaccines directly from the manufacturers is a much-required step to counter the Covid-19 threat."
Max Healthcare said all the hospitals in the network will be used to vaccinate the citizens as supplies of vaccine doses smoothen up.
"Presently, vaccines will be available at Max Healthcare facilities at Panchsheel Park, Patparganj, Shalimar Bagh, Rajinder Place (BLK-Max Hospital), Noida and Vaishali in the NCR," its statement read.
Dr Abhay Soi, the chairman and managing director of Max Healthcare, emphasised that the hospital chain plans to ramp up immunisation and will soon roll out vaccination drives in the local communities, corporates and resident welfare associations.
Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said required vaccine doses have not been received yet for the drive, indicating that the national capital will not join the national-level rollout of Covid-19 vaccination for people aged 18-44 on May 1.
He appealed to the people in the targeted age group not to line up at vaccination centres in the city on Saturday.
In the next one-two days, around three lakh Covishield vaccines will be received and the drive for vaccinating people in the age group 18-44 will commence, Kejriwal said in an online briefing.
The third phase of the Covid-19 vaccination drive to inoculate people aged 18 years and above will roll out in the country on May 1. However, some states have said they would be unable to start the drive on day one due to the shortage of vaccines.
Kejriwal said his government has placed orders for 67 lakh doses each of Covishield and Covaxin from manufacturers which would be supplied in three months.