With the third phase of COVID-19 vaccination opening up in less than two weeks for everyone above 18 years largely through private facilities, government data shows almost all small states and union territories are still entirely or mostly dependent upon government facilities.
According to the government's CoWIN portal, 13 small states and union territories have less than 10 private facilities where vaccination against COVID-19 infection is being conducted and out of these, five states and union territories have no private facilities for vaccination.
The states and union territories with less than 10 private facilities for vaccination are - Andaman and Nicobar (0 private facility), Arunachal Pradesh (0), Dadra and Nagar Haveli (2), Daman and Diu (0), Ladakh (0), Lakshadweep (0), Manipur (3), Meghalaya (7), Nagaland (4), Puducherry (7), Sikkim (1), Tripura (1) and Mizoram (2), according to the CoWIN portal's dashboard.
A senior health ministry official had earlier said some states and union territories have no private facilities conducting vaccination due to absence of such facilities there.
Interestingly, Tamil Nadu is the only state in the country with over 1,000 private facilities conducting vaccinations. It has 1118 facilities.
In comparison, Delhi, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh reporting high numbers of COVID-19 cases have 817, 230, 1101 and 561 private facilities conducting vaccinations respectively.
The role of private facilities conducting vaccinations holds importance in view of the government's announcement to liberalise the vaccination drive to allow states, private hospitals and industrial establishments to procure the doses directly from manufacturers in the third phase of COVID-19 vaccinations.
In the third phase commencing from May 1, all above 18 years of age will be eligible for COVID vaccination.
The announcement comes as India grappled to rein in the surging coronavirus infections that crossed 1.50 crore.