The Maharashtra Government clarified on Sunday that it had not cancelled the Covid-19 vaccination, as had been reported in a section of the press. ‘‘No Covid-19 vaccination sessions were planned on January 17 and 18, so the question of cancellation does not arise. The vaccination sessions will be organised for four days in the next week, as per the Government of India guidelines,’’ said the public health department in its clarification.
This has further exposed a lack of coordination between the public health department and other agencies involved in the vaccination drive. There was confusion among the implementing agencies after the announcement by a section of department functionaries that the vaccination drive across the state had been put on hold for January 17 and 18, following operational glitches in the government’s IT platform CoWin.
In view of the technical snag in the CoWin app, the beneficiaries in Mumbai could not be alerted automatically by SMS but had to be informed by messages or phone calls.
Thereafter, some functionaries told the press and media that the vaccination drive had been cancelled on January 17 and 18, though there was no official press release. However, early on Sunday morning, the department issued a clarification that since no vaccination had been scheduled on January 17 and 18, there was no question of its cancellation.
Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope told The Free Press Journal, ‘‘The state government was prepared to conduct the vaccination drive for all seven days. However, the Centre has told the state government to do so four days a week. It is true that a technical snag surfaced in the CoWin app but the government immediately brought to the Centre’s notice. It will be corrected soon. No vaccination was planned on January 17 and 18. As per the Centre’s guidelines, the vaccination will be conducted for four days, from Tuesday in Maharashtra.’’ He also said that the government had earlier proposed 511 vaccination centres across Maharashtra but the Centre had reduced them to 285.
Tope hoped that all technical issues would be sorted out so that the state government could conduct the four-day vaccination drive from Tuesday, as instructed by the Centre.