Large-scale vaccination against COVID-19 for people between 18 years and 44 years in the national capital will start on Monday, said Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
While the third phase of the nationwide inoculation drive for all those above 18 years of age commenced on Saturday, only a handful of the states have launched the process due to limited supply of vaccine doses.
Speaking to news agency ANI, the chief minister said, "Vaccination for people between 18-44 years started at only one centre. This is symbolic only. We have received 4.5 lakh vaccine doses. It is being distributed in all districts. Large-scale vaccination in Delhi will begin from the day after tomorrow. There is no walk-in for now. I request people to come only with registration and appointment."
Asked about the shortage of oxygen in Delhi hospitals, Kejriwal said, "There is a major issue of oxygen. SOS is coming from all hospitals. We have spoken in the court and written to the Centre that Delhi requires 976 tons of oxygen daily but we have been allotted only 490 tons of oxygen. Yesterday we received only 312 tons. How will this work?"
"I request the decision-makers with folded hands to provide oxygen to Delhi. People are waiting outside of hospitals just because of the shortage of oxygen. We have prepared 5000 beds at Radha Soami Centre but only 150 functional as there is no oxygen. We prepared 1300 beds at Commonwealth Games and Yamuna Sports Complex. We have prepared 2500 beds in Burari. If we get oxygen, there will be 9000 oxygenated beds in Delhi within 24 hours," stated the chief minister.
Hospitals in the national capital are grappling with the acute shortage of oxygen due to a surge in COVID-19 cases. 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.
Delhi recorded 375 COVID-19 deaths and over 27,000 new cases with a positivity rate of 32.69 per cent on Friday, according to the state health department. With the addition of fresh infections, the total COVID-19 count of the national capital has gone up to 11,49,333.
The city also reported 25,288 recoveries from the disease. This is the ninth consecutive day the city has seen daily fatalities of over 300. A total of 10,33,825 people have been cured of the coronavirus infection in Delhi while the total death toll stands at 16,147.
(With ANI inputs)