India Covid-19 vaccination for 45+: Third phase launched as cases rise
India has launched the third phase of its coronavirus vaccination drive with everyone above the age of 45 now eligible for the jab.
More than 65 million doses have been given so far, mostly to frontline workers and people above the age of 60.
The world's biggest inoculation drive aims to cover 250 million people by July, but experts say the pace needs to pick up further to meet the target.
The third phase opens amid a sharp uptick in Covid-19 cases.
India's Covid caseload had dropped sharply by the time it began vaccinating people early this year. It was adding under 15,000 infections daily. But cases began to spike again in March, largely driven by poor test-and-trace and lax safety protocols.
On Wednesday, the country reported 72,019 new cases and 457 deaths - the sharpest daily rise since December last year.
Since the pandemic began, India has confirmed more than 11.7 million cases and over 160,000 deaths. It's the third-highest number of Covid-19 infections in the world after the United States.