Maharashtra diverts vaccines for 18-44 yrs to 45+ amid shortage of supply: Health minister Rajesh Tope
The Maharashtra government has diverted the Covid-19 vaccine procured for inoculating those between the age of 18 and 44 to give second dose to 45+ beneficiaries. This was announced by state health minister Rajesh Tope on Tuesday.
"The decision has been taken in the wake of the short supply of vaccines for 45-plus beneficiaries by the central government," said Tope. “Efficacy of the vaccine is largely affected if the second dose is not administered within the stipulated time period,” he further said.
The state health minister added that more than 2.1 million people above the age of 45 are due for their second dose, and out of them 1.6 million are for Covishield. Tope said that only 35,000 doses of Covaxin are available.
Maharashtra, in accordance with the Centre’s guidelines, started the third phase of the vaccination drive from May 1 to inoculate people between 18 and 44 years. In April, when the second phase of the vaccination drive was underway, several vaccination centres in the capital city of Mumbai, Pune, Panvel andother districts of the state were closed as they ran out of doses.
More than 18.2 million beneficiaries have been vaccinated in Maharashtra so far with 14,776,548 vaccinated with the first dose and the remaining 3,487,664 given both doses. The worst-hit state in the country is seeing a fall in its daily cases of Covid-19 and related deaths in the past few days. On Monday, less than 40,000 new cases were recorded, the lowest single-day tally in 41 days.
Maharashtra’s caseload currently stands at 5,138,973 with 76,398 deaths and 4,469,425 recoveries.
The Centre, meanwhile, on Tuesday told states to prioritise inoculation for those beneficiaries who are due for the second dose of the vaccine and reserve a minimum of 70 per cent of the doses for this purpose and the remaining 30 per cent for those waiting for the first dose. “This however is indicative. States have the liberty to enhance this to as much as 100 per cent,” the Union health ministry said in a statement.
(With PTI inputs)