(Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)
(Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)

28,500 from Maharashtra to get Covid vaccine on Day 1

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to launch the vaccination through an online programme, Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray will inaugurate the state’s vaccination drive from a Covid-19 centre in the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC), immediately after Modi’s function.
By Surendra P Gangan, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 01:17 AM IST

Maharashtra expects to inoculate around 28,500 health workers, a drop from the earlier target of 50,000, on day one of the Covid-19 vaccination drive on Saturday, as hours before the launch of the pan-India roll-out, the number of centres in the state fell from 358 to 285.

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to launch the vaccination through an online programme, Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray will inaugurate the state’s vaccination drive from a Covid-19 centre in the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC), immediately after Modi’s function.

Last week, when the pan-India vaccine plan was announced, the Centre had allotted 511 centres to Maharashtra, which dropped to 358 two days ago and now to 285 (279 for Covishield and 6 for Covaxin) on Friday.

According to state health officials, the reduction in centres was as per directives of the ministry of health and family welfare. The officials said the centres were reduced to ensure effective handling of the drive. The officials said the reduction was also to ensure that the stock of vaccines supplied to the state was sufficient for second doses to beneficiaries until the next consignment was allotted.

This will result in delay in completion of the vaccination of the targetted 800,000 health workers. The state government has also planned to hold sessions on four days a week. This will prolong the process to more than six weeks for the completion of the first phase, from the earlier plan of completing it in four weeks.

“The reduction in centres is as per the direction of the central government. We have stock of vaccine to cover 55.5% of the health workers registered with us. The vaccine has reached every centre and has been maintained at the stipulated temperature. The centres are at the district level and in some of the medical colleges, so there would not be any logistical problem. The standard operation procedure (SOP) has been in place with sufficient number of beds and backup medical arrangements. All the beneficiaries have already been informed about timing and centres they have to report to,” said Dr Ramaswami N, commissioner, family welfare, and director, National Health Mission.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra reported 3,145 cases and 45 deaths on Friday, taking the tally to 1,984,768 and toll to 50,336. Mumbai clocked 574 cases and eight deaths, taking the tally to 301,655 and toll to 11,229. Pune and Nagpur, other two most affected cities, clocked 263 and 243 cases, respectively. Both the cities reported two deaths each on Friday. The state’s case fatality rate (CFR) stands at 2.54%, while its overall positivity rate has dropped to 14.5%.

The state has 52,152 active patients in various Covid-19 facilities across the state. The highest number of active patients, 15,777, is in Pune, followed by 9,799 in Thane, and 7,107 in Mumbai. State’s recovery rate stands at 94.78%.

According to the statement from the health department, the beneficiaries have been informed about the vaccine name, details about the centres through SMSs till Friday evening. “Each of the vaccination centres will have a team of five members, including the vaccinator, and four members for identification, maintenance of protocol and to make entries into the Co-WIN app,” the statement said.

PM Modi will interact virtually with the beneficiaries at the Cooper Hospital in Mumbai and the district hospital in Jalna on Saturday morning. The webcast facility at all vaccination centres has been set for the launch programme.

Maharashtra has received 963,000 doses of Serum Institute of India’s (SII) Covishield and 20,000 vials of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin. The centres at medical colleges in Mumbai, Aurangabad, Solapur and Nagpur and district hospitals at Pune and Amravati will administer the doses of Covaxin. The drive will be between 9am and 5pm on four days a week.

The health department is also wary about health workers backing out of fear against the reaction of the vaccine. State health minister Rajesh Tope said both vaccines are completely safe for use and health workers should set an example before the general people by participating in the drive. “The politicians are not going for inoculation because we want the most vulnerable groups to benefit first. The health workers are real heroes during this pandemic and they should set an example before others by getting vaccinated,” he said.

The highest number of vaccination centres are in Mumbai (40), followed by Pune (31), Thane (23), Nashik (13) and Nagpur (12).

“The beneficiaries will get the SMSs one or two days in advance. We will add beneficiaries above the 55.5% health workers once we get the next consignment of the vaccine from the Centre. The stock of 983,000 vials will last for 55.5% of 800,000 health workers registered for vaccination in the first phase,” said Dr DN Patil, state immunization officer.

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