Maharashtra Not Able To Commence Vaccination Drive For Age Group 18-44: Health Minister Cites Covid Vaccine Shortage

As India nears the third phase of the Covid vaccination drive, Maharashtra has shown an inability to start the campaign on May 1 to inoculate those between 18-44 age due to lakh of the vaccine. 

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Thursday exclaimed that unless the state is able to procure 25 to 30 lakh covid vaccine vials, it will not be able to commence the third phase of the drive against COVID-19.

Speaking to reporters, Tope said: “We will not commence vaccination drive for the 18-44 age group. The stock should be sufficient for at least five days to start the vaccination drive.”

Maharashtra has been raising concerns about the shortage of supply of both the vaccines – Covishield and Covaxin. On several occasions, the state has suspended vaccination drive for people above 45 due to a shortage of doses.

As per the Health Minister, the state will only be giving out vaccines to government hospitals from May 1 for inoculation of people in the above 45 age category.

“Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has clearly informed us (the state cabinet) as well as the vaccine makers that he is willing to pay the entire purchase amount of vaccine doses with just one cheque. But he needs assurances of smooth and uninterrupted supply of vaccines to the state,” Rajesh Tope added.

Tope said Maharashtra has the capacity to inoculate eight lakh people daily if adequate covid vaccines are provided. “Maharashtra’s wastage of the COVID-19 vaccine is as low as 1 percent. This is due to the careful management of distributors and our staff on the ground,” he said.

(With Agency Inputs)

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