Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla has promised Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to deliver 1.5 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccine Covishield to Maharashtra after May 20, said Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Wednesday. The Maharashtra state cabinet held a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the Covid management.
Interacting with reporters, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said, "Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla has promised the Chief Minister to deliver 1.5 crore doses of Covishield to Maharashtra after May 20. We will start the vaccination for the 18-44 years age group after we receive the vaccine."
As Maharashtra has suspended the Covid vaccination for the 18-44 years age group temporarily due to the unavailability of vaccines, the health minister stated: "Vaccination for 18-44 age group has been suspended for the time being due to shortage of vaccines. All the doses purchased by the state government for the age group will now be diverted for the 45 category."
Asked about the extension of lockdown, Rajesh Tope said, "At the Cabinet meeting, the health department and other ministers proposed to extend the lockdown for 15 days. The Chief Minister will take a final decision on this matter."
Aslam Sheikh, Minister in Maharashtra Cabinet, said the Central government should relax norms for buying vaccines. "If the Centre eases its import laws a bit, we will be able to vaccinate the people in 3-4 months. More rights need to be given to States so that we can purchase vaccines from the market and vaccinate people."
Maharashtra reported 46,781 fresh COVID-19 cases and 816 deaths in the last 24 hours, said the state health department on Wednesday. The new cases pushed the case tally in the state to 52,26,710.
As many as 58,805 patients have recovered from the disease in the last 24 hours, taking the total recoveries to 46,00,196. Meanwhile, the active number of COVID cases in Maharashtra stands at 5,46,129. With the new fatalities, the COVID death count in Maharashtra has mounted to 78,007.
(With ANI inputs)