Mumbai: Hours after the video conference chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Centre has allowed 134 25-bed hospitals in Maharashtra to carry out Covid vaccination. With this move, the government has relaxed its norm of only allowing hospitals with 100 beds or more to participate in the ongoing immunisation drive. The state government had sent a list of 184 25-bed hospitals to the Union health ministry on Wednesday night, of which 134 hospitals were approved. The state government expects to step up vaccination and cover more eligible people.
The Centre’s approval comes even as Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had announced that 3 lakh people had to be vaccinated each day, in view of the rising cases in the state.
The senior state government official who had sent the letter to the Union health ministry seeking permission for the participation of 25 bed hospitals in the vaccination process, told The Free Press Journal, “The objective is to speed up vaccination and cover more and more eligible people. So far, a total of 36,03,424 doses have been given to those above 60 years of age, frontline workers and those over 45 years of age with co-morbidities.” The government had also urged the Centre to increase the number of vaccination centres, the official said. So far, the Centre has only allowed 209 of the possible 367 centres.
Further, the official said the state government had made a fresh appeal to the Centre to allow vaccination for people below 45 years of age. According to the health minister, Rajesh Tope,“The government aims to vaccinate 1.77 crore people with the first dose by May and the second by June, for which 2.20 crore Covishield and Covaxin vaccines are required.” To achieve this target, he urged the Union health minister to supply 20 lakh vaccines every week.