Maharashtra: Serum Institute can supply Covishield only after May 20, says Rajesh Tope

As the nation gears up to roll out a mass inoculation drive, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope revealed that the state may receive its supply of 'Covishield' vaccine only after May 20.

"The Serum Institute of India (SII) has informed the state government that it can supply the 'Covishield' vaccine only after May 20," he said. The minister admitted that procuring anti-COVID-19 vaccines is still a challenge and the state needs a week's quota delivered at one time in order to vaccinate a maximum number of people.

Public Health Secretary Dr Pradeep Vyas, in a letter dated April 26 to SII, had asked the company how many Covishield doses it would be able to supply to Maharashtra every month for a six-month period beginning May 2021. He had also asked what will be the procurement price per dose and other conditions, if any.

‘’The Government of India has announced a National COVID-19 vaccination strategy which will be in effect from May 1. If the Government of Maharashtra decides to vaccinate the 18 to 44 years age group, then about 12 crore vaccine doses would be required. In this context, we would like you to inform us as to how many doses of Covishield you would be able to supply to the Government of Maharashtra every month for the next six months period beginning May, 2021,’’ said Dr Vyas. The state government has dashed off a similar letter to Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech.

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