Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday said that the State has received only three lakh vaccine doses for vaccinating individuals within the age group of 18 to 45. The vaccination process will begin from May 1.
“Maharashtra has the capacity to vaccinate each and every person but the problem is of vaccine supply. Today, we have received three lakh vaccine doses and will be receiving 18 lakh in the month of May. I again urge the Central government to increase the vaccine supply to the State so we can move ahead with vaccination process,” said Mr Thackeray, in his address to the State on Friday night.
Mr Thackeray urged the people of Maharashtra to not get over-enthusiastic and crowd at the vaccination centres as that may prove fatal, leading to the spread of coronavirus. “We have the capacity to vaccinate eight lakh citizens in one day. But here, the question is not of our capacity. But it is of our limitation due to shortage of vaccines,” he said. Mr Thackeray said that he has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to design a separate mobile application on the lines of Co-Win for each State or allow States to design their own apps which can be connected to the main app to ensure efficient co-orodination.
The Chief Minister said that the Maharashtra government was ready to purchase 12 crore doses of vaccines, required for six crore citizens in 18 to 45 age group, at one go. “We can simply purchase it by signing one cheque. But that is not possible as vaccine production is not of that scale. We are in talks with vaccine manufactures and were told that the production capacity will increase by June and July,” he said, asking citizens to demonstrate patience.
He clarified that the centre was not giving vaccines for the age group of 18 to 45 for free. “Out of total vaccine production, centre will buy 50% and rest is available for other States. We must clarify this,” he said. In Maharashtra, 1.58 crore citizens above the age of 45 have been vaccinated.
Commenting on the lockdown in the State, Mr Thackeray said that had Maharashtra not imposed restrictions, the active cases in the State would have gone to eight to nine lakh. “Bombay High Court has asked State’s Advocate General as to whether strict lcokdown like last year is necessary? But I feel that it won’t be necessary as people of Maharashtra are acting sensibly,” he said, adding that the increase in patient number has now plateaued.
Informing measures taken by the State, Mr Thackeray said that the government was preparing for the third wave of the pandemic, assuring that it will have minimal impact.