Third phase, Day-1: 11,492 from 18-44 age group inoculated in 26 Maha districts
BL Soni

Mumbai: As the third phase of Covid-19 vaccination drive kicked off on Saturday across India, around 11,000 beneficiaries between the age group of 18 to 44 years from 26 districts took their first jab in Maharashtra. The inoculation for all those aged between 18 to 44 began on Saturday though many states have been facing shortage of vaccinations including Maharashtra.

As per the data, a total of 132 vaccination sessions were organized in 26 districts. A total of 11,492 beneficiaries were vaccinated till 6 pm, the health department said.

At present, the state has procured 3 lakh doses of Covishield vaccine for this age group from Serum Institute of India (SII). As reported by Free Press Journal, the state government on the occasion of Maharashtra Day launched the symbolic launch of vaccination of citizens in the 18-44 age group.

According to the public health department, Pune and Mumbai had the highest number of beneficiaries - 1,316 and 1,004 respectively. Followed by Palghar and Parbhani where 700 and 846 people got their first shot.

The Centre has allocated Maharashtra 17,50,620 'Covishield' and 5,76,890 'Covaxin' vaccine doses for the first fortnight of May.

Although the state government had said that it shall be rolling out the vaccines later in the month of May, the state made overnight preparations for a limited rollout of Phase III of the national vaccination campaign for the 18 to 44 age group after receiving three lakh doses from SII.

SII delivered 3 lakh doses to Maharashtra, and the government managed to send 10,000 to 20,000 doses to each of the 36 districts overnight so that vaccination could begin, at least symbolically, on the rollout date of May 1.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday in his Facebook Live said, ‘’We will be launching the vaccination for the age group of 18-44 years from May 1 depending on the availability of vaccine doses as the first dose has been given to a large population. We will distribute 3 lakh vaccine doses that have come today. They are insufficient.’’ He further noted that the government is ready to pay at one go for the procurement of 12 crore vaccine doses to inoculate about 6 crore people in the age group of 18-44 years. The CM, however, made a fresh plea to the Centre to provide adequate vaccine doses while announcing that the state will successfully come out of the present crisis very soon.

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