Maharashtra Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Friday said that just after the inauguration of universal vaccination Phase 3 for the age group of 18-44 years, the state government will start nominal drive on May 1 being Maharashtra Day.
He has said that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray desires that the government must have a symbolic launch on May 1.
Free Press Journal broke the state government’s move on Friday.
The minister, however, hoped that the Centre would give Maharashtra more vaccine jabs keeping in mind its inoculation capabilities.
“The Chief Minister is eager to start the vaccination for the age group of 18-44 years in a limited manner as the government won’t be in a position to inoculate mane people from this category,’’ he said adding that the state government has a capacity to administer 8 lakh doses per day.
Tope said the Serum Institute of India (SII) has conveyed to the government to supply 13-14 lakh vaccine doses in May while Bharat Biotech can dispatch 4-4.5 lakh doses. These put together, there will be 18 lakh doses. The state government can launch vaccination but at limited centres.
"Unless we get adequate supply of vaccines, we cannot increase the coverage of the population in terms of their vaccination," the minister said.
Commenting on the vaccine procurement policy, he said, "The Centre is going to buy 50 per cent of the total vials produced by the manufacturers. Now, the crucial question is who should get the vaccines from the remaining 50 per cent quota, which the Centre has allowed to be sold directly to the state governments and hospitals. I think the central government will have to intervene here as well."
Tope said every state is reporting a surge in COVID-19 cases, which means there will be more demand for vaccines. He added that the central government needs to come up with some policy so that every state gets an equal share of doses.