Maharashtra CM to hold meeting on Covid-19 vaccination drive
- Uddhav Thackeray has announced that the state has decided to vaccinate citizens in the age group of 18 to 44 against the coronavirus disease free of cost in government hospitals.
Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray will on Thursday chair a meeting on Covid-19 vaccination drive via video conferencing, news agency ANI reported. This comes a day after Thackeray announced that the state has decided to vaccinate citizens in the age group of 18 to 44 against the coronavirus disease free of cost in government-run hospitals.
Interacting with reporters, Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope on Wednesday said that the state will cover 5.71 crore citizens from this age group and it would cost ₹6,500 crore to the government.
Tope, however, said the vaccination drive beginning May 1 cannot be launched in the state due to unavailability of sufficient number of vaccine doses. But the state government plans to vaccinate the citizens in the next six months in a planned manner, he added.
Tope stated that people in the age group of 18 to 44 years will receive free vaccines at state-run centres, but they will have to pay for the jabs at private facilities.
"We are all eager to know whether the vaccination will start from May 1. The answer is that the vaccination will not start from May 1. The reason is that (sufficient vaccines) are not available immediately with us today itself," he said.
"...we are going to vaccinate for free. But we (18 to 44 age group citizens) will have to go about it with patience and sensibly. Using the Co-WIN app is compulsory. You will have to take an appointment and register yourself first," Tope added.
He further said that a committee comprising health department representatives and some senior ministers will be formed to do micro-planning about implementing the vaccination programme.
"The committee will think whether people from the age group can be categorised into 18-25, 25-35 and 35-44 age groups. The committee will discuss whether the 35-44 age group can be vaccinated first or those with co-morbidities among these will be inoculated first," he added.
Tope said that centres meant for vaccinating citizens from 18-44 age group will be separate from the ones meant for 45 and above age category. "We need not hurry and congregate...We will have to take care that the vaccination centres do not turn into Covid-19 spreading centres," he said.
Maharashtra on Wednesday reported 63,309 new coronavirus cases and 985 deaths, the state health department said. It took the tally of infections in the state to 44,73,394 and the death toll to 67,214.