COVID-19: Will Maharashtra government vaccinate all its citizens free of cost?

Maharashtra is scheduled to roll the vaccination drive out for those in the 18-44 age bar from May 1
COVID-19: Will Maharashtra government vaccinate all its citizens free of cost?
Representative imageImage source: The Bridge Chronicle

Pune: On the first day of May, Maharashtra is scheduled to roll the vaccination drive out for those in the 18-44 age bar, owing to tasks related to supply and lack of clarity on the vaccine policy and whether it would give free jabs to all.

According to Maharashtra Health Minister, Rajesh Tope, Maharashtra has around 53-55 million people in the 18-44 category. The cost to inoculate them is expected to be around Rs 7,000 crore, according to Tope. The government is still in discussions with manufacturers, confirming adequate and incessant supply and also deciding the beneficiaries for free vaccines.

Deputy CM Ajit Pawar on Tuesday stated that Maharashtra will declare vaccine policy on vaccination for the 18-44 age group after the cabinet meeting on Wednesday. He has also disregarded his own MVA colleague Nawab Malik for declaring free vaccination for all. “Decisions that have a financial impact on the state should be declared by CM only. Others should avoid by making statements," said Ajit Pawar.

Deputy CM while talking to media persons on Monday also said, “CM will take a decision on the free vaccination for all. I have already signed a proposal for free vaccines. CM will decide on it in the interest of the people in the cabinet meeting on Wednesday. We will also discuss the issue of the global tender for vaccine procurement.”

The Centre on April 9 has already relaxed the age category for vaccination from May 1 and stated that vaccine manufacturers can supply 50 per cent of its doses to state governments, UTs and in the open market. The private hospitals shall have to obtain their supplies of the COVID-19 vaccines exclusively from this quota. While the Centre's procurement price for both the vaccines (COVISHIELD and COVAXIN) remains at Rs 150 per dose while state governments and private hospitals will have to purchase them at a higher price.

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Vaccine for all above 18 starting May 1: Here are some key highlights

Meanwhile, Maharashtra accomplished a feat by vaccinating over 5,00,000 beneficiaries in a day on Monday. The state is expected to go past 15-million mark in coming days, the state health department stated. The state has so far vaccinated 14,342,716 beneficiaries. Maharashtra’s previous high was reported on April 3 when it vaccinated 4,62,735 people in 24 hours.

Also in a sigh of relief, Maharashtra on Monday registered decline in COVID-19 deaths while cases going down gradually though the state total crossed the 43 lakh mark and deaths went past 65,000, according to the data issued by health department. The state reported 524 deaths -- down from the highest 832 on Sunday, taking up its tally to 65,284. Dropping below the 50,000 mark in over a fortnight, from the peak high of 68,631 (April 18), the daily case total was 48,700, taking the progressive total to 43,43,727.

On the positive front, 71,736 fully cured patients returned home, taking the total recoveries to 36,01,796 now. Also, the recovery rate improved from 82.19 per cent on Sunday to 82.92 per cent.

GLOBAL TENDER TO PROCURE REMDESIVIR

The Maharashtra government has floated a global tender to obtain 10 lakh Remdesivir vials, 40,000 oxygen concentrators and 25,000 metric tonnes of oxygen against the backdrop of rising cases of COVID-19, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Tuesday.

"A global tender has been floated for 10 lakh Remdesivir, 40,000 oxygen concentrators, 132 PSA (pressure swing absorption) plants for oxygen, 25,000 MT of liquid medical oxygen and 27 oxygen tanks for storing medical oxygen as buffer stock for emergency use," he informed.

STATE TO EXTEND LOCKDOWN CURBS?

State Relief and Rehab Minister Vijay Wadettiwar said that Maharashtra may extend lockdown-like restrictions further. According to reports, the decision on the extension will be taken in the cabinet meeting scheduled on Wednesday.

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