Mumbai: BMC to resume vaccination drive for 18-44 age group from next week

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is now planning to restart the vaccination drive for the beneficiaries between 18 to 44 years of age who are on a waiting list to take the first jab at the civic-run vaccine centres from next week. Earlier in May due to a shortage of Covid-19 vaccine, the state government had suspended the vaccination drive for the age group of 18-44 years. However, private hospitals were administering vaccines to this age group as they were procuring vaccines directly from the manufacturers.

Civic officials said since last week they have allowed 18-44 years of age to take the second dose at their centres, but now they are planning to allow beneficiaries in phase-wise manners so that they can cover most of the population in this age bracket.

According to the statistics, 8.30 lakh beneficiaries between 18-44 years of age have taken the COVID vaccine in Mumbai, of which 7.80 lakh beneficiaries have taken a jab at private vaccine centres, which means more than 90 per cent have taken the jab at private centres since civic and state-run centres stopped administering vaccine to 18 to 44 years of age.

Dr Managala Gomare, executive health officer said they are waiting for green signal from the state government to restart vaccinating the beneficiaries between 18 to 44 years of age. However, they will be discussing the strategy to handle the crowd at the centres once 18 to 44 years of age are allowed to take first dose of vaccine.

“We are planning to execute the plan in a phase-wise manner for which discussions are going on. For now we have around one lakh covid-19 vaccine and we are expecting more consignment this week. Following which decisions on allowing 18 to 44 years of age for first dose from the next week will be taken,” she said. Moreover, the civic body is doubling their vaccine centres from 259 to 500 from next week.

Meanwhile, the health experts have welcomed this decision of allowing beneficiaries between 18 to 44 years of age at BMC vaccine centres. “It is a good move the civic body should allow as most of the private hospitals are vaccinating above 18+ but there are beneficiaries who cannot afford the charges at private centres. For which most of them will prefer visiting civic and state-run centres. However, the beneficiaries taking jab at private centres are those who have planned to go abroad for studies or family trip,” said a doctor from the civic-run hospital.

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