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Maharashtra may get 6 million vaccine doses in June

The state government is expected to get over six million doses of Covaxin and Covishield in June, according to the communication from the Centre
By Surendra P Gangan, Mumbai
UPDATED ON MAY 28, 2021 11:33 PM IST

The state government is expected to get over six million doses of Covaxin and Covishield in June, according to the communication from the Centre. Out of it, the state government will have to procure 2,070,530 doses of both the vaccines by paying for them, for the vaccination of the age group of 18-44 years.

After vaccinating over 9.2 million citizens above 45 years and healthcare, frontline workers with the vaccines supplied by the Centre in April, the vaccination rate of the state dropped to merely 5.4 million in May till Friday evening. The drop in the inoculation is because of the short supply of the vaccines by Centre and two domestic manufacturers of Covishield and Covaxin. The pace of the vaccination is expected to increase a bit as the state has been assured of a supply of over six million doses of two vaccines in June.

“According to the latest communication by the Centre, we are expecting more than six million doses in June. Of it, 1,496,500 doses of Covishield and 451,050 of Covaxin will be given from June 1 to 15 under the free quota, supplied by the Centre for the above 45 age group. The Centre has also allocated us 1,595,900 doses of Covishield and 4,74,630 doses of Covaxin, which are to be purchased by the State for 18-44 years during the entire month of June. We expect about two million doses to be supplied by the Centre from its free quota to state in the second half of the month,” said an official from the health department.

The inoculation drive for the age group of 18-44 years has been suspended by the state for the last two weeks amid the shortage of vaccines. There is no decision on its resumption anytime soon. The state government had planned to vaccinate 20 million people above 18 years per month to complete the vaccination of 60 million people in three months. However, the shortage of the vaccine has slowed down the drive.

Making it worse, the global bids floated by the state government did not see any response directly from the manufacturers from other countries. It received a response from eight intermediaries, whose credentials are being verified by the government.

The state is planning to write to the Centre seeking the clarity and guidelines for engaging the bidders. “We are asking the Centre to clarify if the firm that has participated in the bidding are authorised by the manufacturers. We want the legal standing to be clarified by the Centre if we engage them for the supply. We are also seeking Centre’s opinion on the prices they have quoted and also the import-related permissions required from it for procurement,” said an official.

Though the state has received bids from the firms claiming to have tie-ups with the manufacturers for the vaccines which have been approved by World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United States Food and Drug Administration. However, some of the manufacturers have denied having appointed any facilitator to deal with the state governments. Few of them also have said that they will deal only with the Centre.

Meanwhile, 265,725 people were inoculated in Maharashtra on Friday taking the tally of administered doses to 21,920,198 to 17,433,173 people.

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