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Maharashtra unsure about being able to give jabs to those below 45

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on April 27, 2021 said the state may receive its supply of ‘Covishield’ vaccine only after May 20.   | Photo Credit: M. Periasamy

The Maharashtra government is unsure about being able to start COVID-19 vaccination for all above 18 years from May 1 due to uncertainty over availability of vaccine.

“We cannot answer on whether the State can begin with the vaccination of those above 18 years of age. This is because there is a question mark on availability of vaccine. We have written letters (to companies) and are continuously in talks. We have been told by Serum that all vaccines till May 20 have been booked by the Central government. We have received no word from Bharat Biotech,” said State’s Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope.

The Central government has permitted the vaccination of all above 18 years from May 1.

Mr. Tope said the State government has written to Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech seeking to know availability of vaccines and the cost per dose. “We need 12 crore vaccine doses for the population of age group between 18 to 45. The total population of this segment is 5.71 crore. We have yet not received any reply from these two companies,” he said.

Mr. Tope clarified that no decision on whether the vaccination will be given free of cost has been taken yet and when decided it will be announced by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. “We will be discussing the vaccination issue in the State Cabinet. We will decide on technicalities of the vaccination. How to go about it, which social sectors to be given vaccination for free or should all be given free, etc.” he said. Mr. Tope added that there are number of corporates and rich government organisations like CIDCO and MMRDA who can pay for the vaccination of their employees.

The State has crossed 1.5 crore vaccinations and has set a target of eight lakh vaccinations per day through its over 4,500 centres. At present 1615 MT oxygen is being used every day across the state and hospitals have been instructed of efficient use of available oxygen for which a Nandurbar district model of Oxyegn nurse, where one nurse is appointed for 50 patients to observe oxygen use, is also recommended.

The Public Health Minister warned that even though the State is battling the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts have already predicted the possibility of the third wave. “We have to be self-reliant for oxygen, beds, medicines etc. The Centre needs to decide on availability of Remdesivir. We cannot overrule the possibility of third wave later this year and preparations have to be accordingly,” he said.

The State government has issued global tenders for 40,000 oxygen concentrators, 132 PSA, 27 oxygen tanks, 25,000MT liquid oxygen and 10 lakh vials of Remdesivir.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 11:13:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/maharashtra-may-get-supply-of-covishield-only-after-may-20-says-rajesh-tope/article34422527.ece

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