Covid-19: Maharashtra to vaccinate all citizens between 18 and 44 years for free
The Maharashtra government announced on Wednesday it will administer vaccine doses against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) for free to all its citizens between the ages of 18 and 44 in the third phase of the vaccination drive, scheduled to start from May 1. The decision was taken in the state’s cabinet meeting.
“Today, the Cabinet under the leadership of CM Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray has decided to provide free Covid-19 vaccination to all the citizens of Maharashtra aged between 18-44 years,” chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s office (CMO) tweeted.
A detailed vaccination programme will be announced by the state’s health department and registration will take place through the CoWin, the CMO said adding people should not rush to the vaccination centres.
The announcement of free vaccines above the age of 18 was first made by Maharashtra minority minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Nawab Malik on April 25. Shortly after, state environment minister and Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray too confirmed the development on Twitter, but he deleted the tweet and later said in a new post that his intention was not to create any confusion over Maharashtra's official vaccination policy.
Maharashtra has so far vaccinated 15,862,470 beneficiaries against the Covid-19 disease till now, according to the Union health ministry’s update at 8am. Of these, the total consumption including wastage of doses is at 15,356,151 while 506,319 doses are still available with the state for inoculating the eligible beneficiaries, the ministry added.
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Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope, meanwhile, said on Wednesday a full-fledged roll-out of the May 1 vaccination drive is not possible. Maharashtra alone needs 12 crore vaccine doses to inoculate 5.71 crore residents between 18-44 years, Tope told news agency PTI on Tuesday adding vaccine availability still continues to be a challenge in the state.
On Tuesday, Maharashtra recorded the highest Covid-19 deaths at 895 while 66,358 new infections were reported. The state’s caseload has climbed to 4,410,085 including 66,179 deaths, 3,669,548 recoveries and nearly 673,000 active cases.
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