As India widens the scope of inoculation to include those above 18 years, only six states commenced the third phase of vaccination drive on Saturday amid a shortage of vaccines in the country.

All other states and Union territories have either deferred vaccination for this age group by a few days or are uncertain about when they will begin the exercise.

This comes after the Centre on April 19 had announced a ‘liberalised’ policy in order to ramp up the coronavirus vaccination drive in the country and made all above 18 years of age eligible to get vaccinated from May 1.

However, several states have flagged the shortage of vaccines and expressed their inability to start the vaccination process. Due to the delay in procurement of vaccines leading to a shortage, the states have said they won’t be able to kick off the drive.

Only the six states of Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat and Odisha kicked off the vaccination drive for those above 18 age group from today. However, it will be limited to just a few districts.

Meanwhile, many states have deferred the drive due to uncertainty about the stocks.

As per the health ministry, more than 2.45 crore beneficiaries registered themselves on CoWin portal till 9.30 pm on Friday.