Maharashtra government has placed an order of procuring 18.5 lakh Covid-19 vaccines following which the pace of vaccination drive will increase, said State Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Tuesday. Tope also said the main focus is to speed up the vaccination drive by inoculating more people in the age group of 18 to 44 years.
According to the data shared by the state health department, 1.65 crore of the total 3 crore population above 45 years of age have been vaccinated since the mass innouculation drive started, which means almost 45 per cent of the vulnerable population in those age brackets have been covered. Moreover, till now one lakh registered beneficiaries between 18 to 44 years have been vaccinated since May 1.
“Our main aim is to vaccinate more number of people in the age group of 18 to 44 years by purchasing Covid-19 vaccines following which we need to speed up the vaccination drive and considering that we have placed an order of 18.5 lakh Covid-19 vaccine, of which 13.81 are Covishield and 4.79 are Covaxin. Moreover, only those registered beneficiaries should visit the vaccine centres who have booked a slot,” said Tope.
Until May 3, the state had only 25,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines through which only registered beneficiaries above 45 years of age could have been vaccinated. However, on Tuesday morning, they received 9 lakh doses of Covishield which they will distribute in each district depending on the population. However, these vaccines can last up to two days following which the state health department directed to use the vaccines accordingly so that the vaccination drive isn't hampered.
“We had received 9 lakh doses of Covishield which have been distributed to the districts based on their population size like larger districts will get 20,000 doses, medium ones will get 7,000 doses and smaller ones will get 5,000 doses. Moreover, they have directed all the districts to vaccinate as many numbers of beneficiaries between the age group of 18 to 44 years,” Tope said.
Meanwhile, Tope also urged the Serum Institute of India (SII) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Adar Poonawalla to give priority to the state in providing its anti-coronavirus vaccine as the government was ready to purchase doses from the Pune-based company. He said the Maharashtra government was even ready to purchase the Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V.
Besides, Tope said 15 districts, including Mumbai and Thane, are showing a decline in daily COVID-19 cases, but other districts are still exhibiting an upward trend in the state. He said COVID-19 cases are declining daily in 15 districts - Mumbai, Dhule, Nanded, Bhandara, Thane, Nashik, Latur, Nandurbar, Nagpur, Aurangabad, Amravati, Raigad, Osmabanad, Chandrapur and Gondia. "COVID-19 cases are still on the rise in around 20 districts, including Sangli, Satara, Buldhana and Kolhapur, and our target is to reduce them," Tope added.