Covid-19 vaccination drive for those above 18 will not begin on May 1 in Maharashtra, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope said. The government will, however, provide vaccine free of cost to all in the state. The decision was taken during a Cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray video video-conferencing on Wednesday.
"Today, the cabinet under the leadership of CM Uddhav Thackeray has decided to provide free #COVID19 vaccination to all the citizens of Maharashtra aged between 18-44 years," the CMO said.
Tope said the state will get 10 lakh doses each in April and May. Post-May, the manufacturer will provide 20 lakh doses of Covaxin to the state every month. The Serum Institute of India, he said, has assured to provide one crore doses of Covishield to the state every month, he added.
"We have all the infrastructure to conduct vaccination but we don't have vaccines in adequate quantity. The CM is talking to different vaccine manufacturers. There will be separate centres for vaccination of those between 18-44 years of age," Tope said.
According to the state's Public Health Department, Maharashtra has 5.71 crore people in the age group of 18 to 44 and will require 12 crore vaccine doses. The Centre has announced that people above 18 years of age will be eligible to get coronavirus vaccine from May 1. The registrations will begin from Wednesday evening.
India is struggling with a second wave of the pandemic with more than 3,00,000 daily new coronavirus cases being reported in the past few days. Maharashtra is one of the worst-hit states in the country. The state reported 66,358 fresh coronavirus positive cases and 895 fatalities on Tuesday, taking the tally of infections to 44,10,085 and the toll to 66,179. The state is now left with 6,72,434 active cases. Mumbai recorded 3,999 new cases and 59 deaths, raising the overall tally to 6,35,483 and the toll to 12,920. A total of 67,752 patients were discharged from hospitals in Maharashtra during the day, taking the number of recoveries to 36,69,548.