City-dwellers going to rural areas to get vaccinated: Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope
City-dwellers going to rural areas to get vaccinated: Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope
(Photo by AFP)

To get around shortages of vaccine doses in cities, some urban residents are reportedly booking slots at inoculation centres in rural areas, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Thursday.

"I have received some complaints from rural areas that tech-savvy people in cities are entering rural pin-codes to register themselves for COVID-19 vaccination," he told reporters here.

"It is an injustice to rural people who are being deprived of the opportunity to get inoculated. City people should not do this. There is no need to panic over the limited supply of vaccine doses," he added.

The minister, however, also said that the vaccine supply was not enough.

"The state is ready to purchase 12 crore vials of the vaccine but suppliers do not have such a huge stock," Tope said.

If the vaccine supply does not improve, the government will have to divert the second doses meant for 18-44 age group to administer second doses to those above 45 years, Tope said.

The government will have to ensure that those in the above 45 years category who have received first dose of Covaxin get their second dose within 42 days, he said.

For Covishield there is no such requirement, Tope added.

"The decision of diversion of vials will be taken in the next two days," the health minister said.

He also claimed that Maharashtra was not getting the required number of Remdesivir vials from the Centre.

"We have been told that the seven Remdesivir-making companies in the country are expanding their production capacity. Once the extra production commences, the state will get enough supply," Tope said.

He also said that some pharma companies are selling Remdesivir for Rs 3,000 while others are selling it at Rs 900 per vial, and the Center must look into this issue.

The Centre has informed the state government about the possibility of the third wave of the pandemic by August-end or September first week and the state was making preparations to tackle the situation, he said.

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