The Gujarat government on Thursday said the process to vaccinate people against COVID-19 in 18 to 45 age group will begin once it gets substantial number of vaccines from pharmaceutical companies, triggering speculation whether the state would miss the May 1 launch date
of the inoculation drive meant for this category.
However, the registration process for vaccination of people in this age group has begun in the state.
On Sunday, the state government had announced that starting May 1, it would provide free of cost COVID-19 vaccines to those between 18 and 45 years of age.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the state health department said, "The process of registration for the age group of 18 to 45 has begun on CoWin portal from Wednesday as per the announcement of the central government."
For this phase, the state-run and private hospitals have to directly procure vaccines from pharma companies, it said.
"The state government had on April 25 placed orders of 1 crore doses of Covishield vaccines from Serum Institute of India and 50 lakh doses of Covaxin from Bharat Biotech," it said.
The state government has made all the necessary arrangements for giving vaccines to this age group free of cost, it added.
"The vaccination process will start once the state receives substantial numbers of vaccine doses from pharma companies," the statement said, indicating that the state has not yet received any doses directly from the pharma companies even as only two days are remaining for the launch of the drive.
This has raised questions marks if the state will be able to start the vaccination drive from May 1.
In the statement, the government has not specified the dates on which it is likely to get vaccines and also when it will be able to launch the drive.
It, however, said that the vaccination drive for those above 45 years will continue.
For those above 45 years of age, the Centre is procuring vaccines from pharma companies and providing them to states.
On Wednesday, the Maharashtra government had said that it would not be able to launch the 18-45 age group vaccination drive from May 1 due to the shortage of vaccines.