Unless Maharashtra gets 25 to 30 lakh vaccine vials, it will not commence inoculation drive against COVID-19 for people in the 18-44 age group, said Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Thursday.
The nationwide vaccination for people in the 18-44 age group is scheduled to start from May 1 and registration for the same is open on the CoWin app. Speaking to reporters, Tope said, Unless Maharashtra gets vials between 25 lakh and 30 lakh, we will not commence vaccination drive for the 18-44 age group. Stock should be sufficient for at least five days to start the vaccination drive."
Tope has been complaining about a shortage of Covishield and Covaxin, the vaccines being used in the ongoing drive for people aged 45 and above. On several occasions, the state had to suspend vaccination due to a shortage of doses.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has clearly informed us (the state cabinet) as well as the vaccine makers that he is willing to pay the entire purchase amount of vaccine doses with just one cheque. "But he needs assurances of smooth and uninterrupted supply of vaccines to the state, he said.
Tope said Maharashtra has capacity to inoculate eight lakh people daily if adequate vaccines are provided to the state, Maharashtraâ€™s wastage of COVID-19 vaccine is as low as 1%. This is due to the careful management of distributors and our staff on the ground, he said.
â€śWe will be giving out vaccines mainly to government hospitals from May 1 for inoculation of people in the above 45 age category,â€ť he said.