BMC medical staff inoculating Covishield vaccine to beneficiaries against Covid-19 at Rajawadi Hospital, Ghatkopar in Mumbai (Photo by Pratik Chorge/Hindustan Times)
BMC medical staff inoculating Covishield vaccine to beneficiaries against Covid-19 at Rajawadi Hospital, Ghatkopar in Mumbai (Photo by Pratik Chorge/Hindustan Times)

Covid-19: Maharashtra halts vaccination for 18-44 age group, cites ‘shortage of doses’

Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope said that doses of the Covishield anti-Covid-19 vaccine, meant for the 18-44 age group, will instead be used as the second dose for those above 45 years of age.
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Karan Manral, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 12, 2021 09:08 PM IST

Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope announced on Wednesday that the state’s vaccination drive against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) for those in the age group of 18-44 was being put on hold due to a “shortage of doses.”

Also Read | Maharashtra cabinet recommends extending lockdown-like restrictions for 2 weeks

“We’re suspending the vaccination drive for the age group of 18-44 for the time being owing to the shortage of the vaccines,” Tope told the media after a meeting of the state cabinet. “Serum Institute of India (SII) chief Adar Poonawalla has promised chief minister Uddhav Thackeray delivery of 1.5 crore doses of Covishield to Maharashtra after May 20. We will start the vaccination for the 18-44 age group after we receive the vaccine,” Tope further said.

Also Read | Maharashtra records 46,781 new Covid-19 cases; Mumbai’s daily tally goes over 2,000 again

He added that Covishield doses meant for the 18-44 age group will be diverted for the second dose for those above 45 years of age. On Tuesday, the Maharashtra government decided to divert 310,000 doses of the Covaxin anti-Covid-19 vaccine to those aged above 45 for the same purpose.

Also Read | Maharashtra diverts jabs for 18+ to keep 2nd shots for 45+ moving

Covishield and Covaxin are the two vaccines which are being administered in India currently. While the former is actually a shot developed by AstraZeneca-Oxford University and is being manufactured as “Covishield” in India by the Pune-based SII, the latter has been developed by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International Limited.

Maharashtra, which has the highest Covid-19 caseload among all states and Union territories, has frequently complained of vaccine shortage, a charge that has been repeatedly rebutted by the Central government. However, several other states, too, have complained of a shortage of doses.

Also Read | 'Health minister didn't suggest': Centre on Maharashtra's plan to halt vaccination for 18-44 age group

Starting May 1, everyone above the age of 18 became eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine jab. The decision to this effect was taken in a review meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 19 amid an alarming rise in the country’s daily Covid-19 cases. According to the Union ministry of health and family welfare (MoHFW) data on Wednesday morning, 175,235,991 vaccine doses have been administered since the nationwide inoculation drive commenced on January 16. Till May 11, the number of doses administered in Maharashtra stood at 18,821,485, as per a state health department bulletin.

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