Uddhav Thackeray writes to PM Modi, asks for lowering the age bar for Covid-19 vaccine to 25

Updated on Apr 05, 2021 09:32 PM IST

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Thackeray reasoned that the move will benefit Maharashtra - the worst-affected state - and those vaccinated by reducing the severity among the young and working population falling in that age bracket.

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray gestures at the media after paying tribute at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj statue near Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, in Mumbai, India, on Wednesday, March 31, 2021.(Satish Bate/HT Photo)
Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray gestures at the media after paying tribute at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj statue near Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, in Mumbai, India, on Wednesday, March 31, 2021.(Satish Bate/HT Photo)
By | Written by Arpan Rai, New Delhi

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to widen the ambit of vaccinating people against the Covid-19 disease outbreak and permit the inoculation of people aged 25.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Thackeray reasoned that the move will benefit Maharashtra - the worst-affected state - and those vaccinated by reducing the severity among the young and working population falling in that age bracket.

"I request you to lower it to 25, as the states facing the surge are having to place curbs to safeguard lives of the population. However, if a larger number of our young and working population is vaccinated, the intensity of the cases would be much lower than the treatment that they need today," Thackeray said in his letter. A copy of the letter was shared by the chief minister's official Twitter account.

Underlining that the state has remained at the forefront of vaccination drive by administering the most doses, Thackeray said, "Maharashtra has taken Covid-19 vaccination very seriously and we are the number one state in the country in terms of total number of Covid vaccine doses administered."

"As of Sunday, we have administered 76.86 lakh doses of Covid vaccine, which is highest in the country. We have recently ramped up our vaccination drive and on April 3, we administered more than 4.62 lakh covid vaccine doses in a single day," the CM said in his letter.

Amid the second wave, Thackeray said that the state, with its increased testing and absolute transparent methods of reporting, is reaching out to each and every possible Covid-19 positive person to assist her/ him on the way to recovery.

India, currently in its third phase of Covid-19 vaccination, has started vaccinating people above the age of 45. In the first phase, which started on January 16, India vaccinated healthcare workers with two vaccines - Covishield (Oxford-AstraZeneca's vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India) and Covaxin (manufactured by Bharat Biotech Limited). The drive was further opened up to 20 million frontline workers February 1 onwards.

In the next phase of the Covid-19 vaccination drive, authorities aimed to inoculate people above 60 years and those over 45 with comorbidities against the coronavirus from March 1.

The vaccine drive was meant to first immunise 300 million people who belong to three categories: healthcare workers, frontline workers, and those at greater risk from Covid-19 due to their age or existing medical conditions.

Thackeray also reminded the PM that the state has also requested for additional vaccine doses so that the six districts "facing the surge of Covid-19 can be covered on priority and in greater speed".

"Mumbai, Pune, Thane, Nashik, Nagpur and Aurangabad can be covered in a matter of 3 weeks, for the population above 45, if 1.5 crore doses are made available to the state by the government of India," he said.

India recorded the highest single-day rise of 1.03 lakh new Covid-19 cases, prompting PM Modi to convene another round of meetings with chief ministers and state health ministers on Thursday amid growing calls to open up the vaccination drive against the disease to all age groups.

Additionally, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan will hold a meeting on Tuesday with health ministers of 11 states that have been witnessing a surge in cases to review the situation there.

The 11 states are Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan.

While a few states like Delhi, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu have announced closure of schools for an indefinite period, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and Punjab among others have suspended classes for a brief period. Schools have been directed to impart education through online mode.

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