No vaccination for 18-44 age group on 1 May in Maharashtra; govt says infrastructure in place, but don't have vaccines
State health minister Rajesh Tope said that free vaccine will be available to those between 18-44 only at state-run centres but citizens will have to pay for the jabs at private facilities
Maharashtra will launch separate vaccination centres for those aged between 18 and 44 once vaccine doses are available, state health minister Rajesh Tope said, according to reports, even as the state tended the current lockdown-like restrictions till 15 May and confirmed that it will provide free vaccine to the new age group.
What the new order means is that the COVID-19 vaccination drive for the younger population, which was set to begin on 1 May won't be launched in Maharashtra for the time being.
"We have all the infrastructure to conduct vaccination but we don't have vaccines in adequate quantity. The chief minister 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 a report in Times Now.
Tope's remarks come following an announcement by the Maharashtra Chief Minister's Office on Wednesday that people in the age group of 18 to 44 years will receive free vaccines. The decision was taken at the cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai.
Today, the Cabinet under the leadership of CM Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray has decided to provide free COVID-19 vaccination to all the citizens of Maharashtra aged between 18-44years.#BreakTheChain pic.twitter.com/dzgmCLEDGT
— Office of Uddhav Thackeray (@OfficeofUT) April 28, 2021
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Tope said that free vaccine will be available only at state-run centres but citizens will have to pay for the jabs at private facilities. "A citizen will be vaccinated for free only at government-run centres. Citizens will have to pay for vaccines at private facilities," he said.
Tope's remarks on the forthcoming drive wherein people above 18 years will become eligible for immunisation came amid reports that many people in Maharashtra are not getting the doses due to the shortage. However, the Union health ministry said on Wednesday that the total COVID vaccine doses received by Maharashtra as of 28 April (at 8 am) are 1,58,62,470. Of this, the total consumption, including wastage (0.22 percent), was 1,53,56,151. "The balance of 5,06,319 vaccine doses is still available with the state for administration to the eligible population groups," the ministry said. It said that 5,00,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are in the pipeline for delivery in the next three days to Maharashtra. The Maharashtra govt's decision to vaccinate even the new group for free will put a burden of Rs 6,500 crore on the state's coffers, Tope added.
The demand for vaccines is on the rise in Maharashtra which is hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
As of 27 April, the state's cumulative caseload stood at 44,10,085 while the count of fatalities was 66,179, the state health department had said.
Maharashtra had 6,72,434 active cases as of Tuesday, the officials had said.
On Wednesday, scores of people in many cities in the state, including Mumbai, couldn't get themselves inoculated due to the shortage of vaccines at various facilities.
According to the Maharashtra health department, the state has inoculated a total of 1,53,37,832 people so far, including 25,15,076 in Mumbai alone.
Meanwhile, the Aarogya Setu app said on Twitter that appointments for those above 18 will be possible only once state govt, private centres schedule vaccination sessions. And that currently, only registration is happening on the CoWIN platform.
Registration for 18 plus to begin on https://t.co/S3pUooMbXX, Aarogya Setu App & UMANG App at 4 PM on 28th April. Appointments at State Govt centers & Private centers depending on how many vaccination centers are ready on 1st May for Vaccination of 18 plus. #LargestVaccineDrive
— Aarogya Setu (@SetuAarogya) April 28, 2021
The registration for those aged between 18 and 45 began today on the app and the Uman App at 4 pm, the app said. However, according to reports, several people were facing issues in registering to the Cowin platform in order to schedule an appointment for vaccines.
With inputs from PTI
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