India rolled out the third phase of its COVID-19 vaccination drive for those in the 18-44 age group on May 1. (Representative image)
More than 6.91 lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered in India on May 16, according to the Union Health Ministry's latest provisional report.
With that, over 18.29 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered across the country so far. On May 16, 6.14 lakh beneficiaries received their first shot and 76,925 people were given their second dose.
The government has revised the gap between the two doses for the Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield, being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, to 12-16 weeks. However, the interval for the second dose of Bharat Biotech's Covaxin remains unchanged.
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the nationwide vaccination drive on January 16, with healthcare workers at the frontline of India's COVID-19 battle getting their first jabs. The country began the second phase of the vaccination drive from March 1 in which everyone above 60 years of age and those over 45 years with comorbidities could start getting the vaccine.
From April 1, vaccination was opened for everyone above the age of 45 with or without comorbidities.
India rolled out the third phase of its COVID-19 vaccination drive for those in the 18-44 age group on May 1. The central government has liberalised the vaccination drive to allow states, private hospitals and industrial establishments to procure the doses directly from manufacturers.
Registration on CoWIN platform for the third phase began on April 28 and is mandatory for the 18-44 age group.
Here are key developments related to the COVID-19 vaccination process:
> No COVID vaccine dose was administered in 10 districts of the Kashmir region on May 16 due to a shortage, officials said. State Immunisation Officer Dr Shahid Hussain acknowledged that there was a shortage of vaccines in the valley, but said the Union Territory was hopeful of getting vaccines sooner.
> A total of 85 private hospitals have been allowed to administer COVID-19 vaccines by the Thane Municipal Corporation in order to cover more people quickly, civic officials said on the day.
> Hester Biosciences said on the day that it has tied up with the Gujarat government to explore production of COVID-19 vaccine through technology transfer from Bharat Biotech. The Ahmedabad-based firm said it has already initiated the discussions with Bharat Biotech in this regard.
> As many as 60,000 doses of the second batch of Russia's COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V landed at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad on the day, said Dr Reddy's Laboratories.
> Amid a severe vaccine shortage, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has directed authorities to explore the possibility of procuring Sputnik V COVID vaccine for inoculating people in the 18-44 age group. Addressing a virtual COVID review meeting on the day, the chief minister said one lakh doses of Covishield, received initially for the 18-44 years category, had almost been completely utilized.
> More than 1.84 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses are still available with states and union territories, while nearly 51 lakh doses are in the pipeline and will be received by them within the next three days, the Union Health Ministry said on the day. The Centre has so far provided more than 20 crore vaccine doses to states and UTs free of cost, it said.
> BJP's Rajya Sabha member Jyotiraditya Scindia said on the day that vaccination was the only way to tackle coronavirus, and 200 crore vaccine doses, enough for all, would be made available in India by December.Here's the vaccination count for some states:
|Andhra Pradesh|| 75,13,031|
|Himachal Pradesh|| 21,80,999|
|Madhya Pradesh|| 90,83,720|
|West Bengal|| 1,25,66,596|