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The third phase of the Covid-19 inoculation drive for those in the 18-44 age group is likely to begin at "moderate" pace in the national capital and people with comorbidities will be given preference, officials said on Wednesday.

The Delhi government has placed an order for over 1.3 crore doses with manufacturers. The vaccines will be delivered in phases, an official aware of the development said.

Private hospitals will have to procure vaccines directly from manufacturers, he said.

"We are likely to have a moderate start and it will be ramped up gradually," the official said.

The Centre will continue to provide vaccine for those aged above 45.

"So, there will be three channels - Centre, state and private and therefore, the number of beneficiaries being vaccinated a day will increase," another official said.

Asked if the more vaccine centres will be added considering the increased number of beneficiaries, the official said, "A little bit expansion might be done, but by and large the number will remain the same."

At present, jabs are being given at around 500 centres in the capital.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had on Monday said everybody aged above 18 would be administered COVID-19 vaccines free of cost in Delhi.

He had also appealed to vaccine manufacturers to bring down the price to 150 per dose.

Bharat Biotech has fixed the price of its COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin, at 600 per dose for state governments and at 1,200 per dose for private hospitals.

Serum Institute of India (SII)'s Covishield will be available at a price of 300 per dose to state governments and 600 per dose to private hospitals.

The nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive began on January 16.

The Centre, which has been inoculating frontline workers and those aged 45 and above, this month announced expansion of the national vaccination drive from May 1, amid a deadly second Covid wave ravaging the country.

Registration for this category began on the CoWIN platform and Aarogya Setu app on Wednesday. PTI GVS ZMN

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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