Haryana and Ladakh on Monday said they will provide free coronavirus vaccine shots to residents aged above 18 years, when India begins its third phase of immunisation from May 1. Various other states have made similar announcements.

An official spokesperson of the Ladakh administration said that the decision was taken by Lieutenant Governor RK Mathur, the Hindustan Times reported. The Union Territory has reported 13,502 coronavirus cases so far, according to Union health ministry data. It has 1,857 active cases and the toll stood at 138.

Making the announcement on Twitter, Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij also said that the state government has placed an order for 40 lakh Serum Institute of India’s Covishield vaccine and 26 lakh Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin shots.

On April 24, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had said that around 1.1 crore people aged above 18 would be administered the coronavirus vaccine across the state from May 1, reported NDTV. He had said that Rs 880 crore would be spent on the vaccine administration and that the expense would be borne by the government.

Haryana on Monday registered its highest single-day rise in its Covid-19 toll with 75 deaths, pushing the overall infection count to 3,842 in the state since the pandemic broke out in January 2020, reported PTI. The state also recorded 11,504 new cases taking the tally to 4,35,823. Haryana has 79,466 active cases and 3,52,515 people have recovered from the infection.

Free vaccinations

Besides Haryana and Ladakh, the governments of Karnataka, Delhi, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Jharkhand, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Goa, Sikkim, Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have also announced free vaccinations for residents aged above 18 years.

So far, India has administered 14,30,73,074 coronavirus vaccine doses, according to government data. Haryana has administered 30,04,878 shots. Ladakh has given 88,817 vaccine doses.

The second coronavirus wave has battered the health infrastructure in the country as cases continue to rise steadily. On Tuesday, India registered 3,23,144 new coronavirus cases in a day, taking the total number of infections to 1,76,36,307 since the pandemic broke out in January 2020. While the single-day infection count is slightly less than Monday’s, India registered more than 3 lakh cases for the sixth day in a row. With 2,771 deaths, the toll went up to 1,97,894.

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