Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], May 11 (ANI): Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Tuesday said that the state government is considering holding off the COVID vaccination drive for the 18-44 age group temporarily due to shortage of vaccine doses.
The vaccine doses currently available with the state will instead be used to vaccinate people of 45 years and above as administering the second jab of these people is a priority, he said.
Speaking to media persons, Rajesh Tope said, "There is a dearth of vaccines hence we are considering holding off vaccination drive temporarily for the 18-44 age group. 2.75 lakh vaccine doses left for this group, that will be used for 45 years and above group now. Administering the second dose is a priority.""Mucormycosis patients will be treated for free under Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojana. Over 2,000 cases have been reported and 8 people have died of this infection in the state so far. We are making special wards for these patients," he said.
The state health minister said that the decision over extension of lockdown in Maharashtra will be taken in the cabinet meeting tomorrow.
Earlier on May 7 (Friday), while addressing a press conference, Rajesh Tope had requested the central government to provide more COVID vaccine doses to the state, indicating that he would be forced to shift the vaccine allocation to 45 years and above due to the COVID vaccine deficit.
"Almost 4 lakh people of 45 years and above are waiting for their second dose. There is no supply of Covaxin and if we don't get the supply, we have to transfer vaccines allotted to 18-44 years to 45 years and above age group," said the health minister.
In Maharashtra, the third phase of the vaccination drive nominally commenced on May 1 even after a shortage of vaccine doses in order to mark Maharashtra Day's celebration.
The state government has promised to provide free vaccines to those between the age group 18-44 years so as to combat the second wave of COVID-19.
As per the official data, Maharashtra has 593150 active COVID-19 cases. 24,920 new cases and 549 related deaths were reported in the state over the last 24 hours. (ANI)