Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Friday said that COVID-19 vaccine makers have told the state government that up to 18 lakh vaccine doses could be provided to the state in the month of May.
Two days back, the Maharashtra government had made it clear that the nationwide exercise of vaccinating people from 18-44 age group cannot be launched in the state on the first day of May as it does not have enough quantity of vaccines.
Talking to reporters, Mr Tope said, “We have been told by the vaccine makers that up to 18 lakh doses could be supplied to Maharashtra in the month of May. In that situation, the state is planning to set up one centre per district to inoculate people.”
On the 18-44 age group vaccination drive, he said, “We need to reduce the number of vaccination centres so that they administer the doses on a daily basis in a smooth manner.”
Mr Tope said that people should visit the vaccination centres after taking prior appointment. “It will avoid crowding and everyone will get doses,” he added.
“Unless we get adequate supply of vaccines, we cannot increase the coverage of population in terms of their vaccination,” the minister said.
Commenting on the vaccine procurement policy, he said, “The Centre is going to buy 50 per cent of the total vials produced by the manufacturers. Now, the crucial question is who should get the vaccines from the remaining 50 per cent quota, which the Centre has allowed to be sold directly to the state governments and hospitals. I think the cental government will have to intervene here as well.”
Every state is reporting a surge in COVID-19 cases, which means there will be more demand for vaccines, he said, adding that the central government needs to come up with some policy so that every state gets an equal share of doses.