The central government on Monday issued fresh guidelines for the third phase of COVID-19 vaccination drive across the country from May 1, saying everyone above the age of 18 will be eligible to receive jabs.

This comes with the country witnessing a record surge in COVID-19 cases, reporting over 2.7 lakh new cases on Monday.

The Centre said the procurement, eligibility and administration of vaccines for the third phase will be made more flexible as it aims to curb the spread of the virus.

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Vaccine manufacturers will be incentivised to ramp up production, while new national and international players will be roped in to increase availability of shots. Additionally, vaccine manufacturers will be empowered to release up to 50% of their supply to state governments and open markets at a pre-determined price.

Where to register for vaccination:

Citizens can register and book an appointment for vaccination, anytime and anywhere through the portal or via other IT applications such as Arogya Setu.

How to register:

The eligible persons will be able to register themselves on Co-WIN 2.0 portal using their mobile number, through a step by step process. With one mobile number, a person can register as many as four beneficiaries. However, all those registered on one mobile number will have nothing in common except the mobile number, the health ministry had said.

The photo ID card number for each such beneficiary must be different. Either of the following photo identity documents can be used by citizens for availing of online registration — Aadhaar Card/Letter, Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC), passport, driving license, PAN Card, NPR Smart Card or Pension Document with a photograph.

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What is the eligibility criteria:

All citizens that are aged, or will attain the age of 18 or more as of January 1, 2022, are eligible to register.

Where to get the jab:

Besides government hospitals, the central government has released a full list of around 10,000 private hospitals that will be part of the vaccination programme. You can check out the list on the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s official website.

The private empanelled COVID-19 Vaccination Centres (CVCs) were also trained on various aspects of the process of vaccination and management of adverse events following immunization (AEFI) through video conference with the support of the National Health Authority (NHA).

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Cost of vaccine doses:

According to the ministry, all vaccines provided at government health facilities will be entirely free of cost. The government on Saturday capped the price of COVID vaccines at private hospitals at Rs 250 per dose. This is inclusive of Rs 100 as service charge.

The government of India has supplied two COVID-19 vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin, free of cost to states and union territories to vaccinate healthcare and frontline workers on priority.

What changes from May 1 in COVID-19 vaccination drive? 

The Centre on Monday expanded the scope of the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive to include everyone above the age of 18 from May 1. More people will be covered under the third phase.