The state on Friday distributed 3 lakh Covishield doses to districts for starting vaccination of this age-group from Saturday. Mumbai, Pune and Thane have each got the largest share of 20,000 doses. Other districts were given anywhere between 3,000 and 10,000 doses each.
Districts like Hingoli, Wardha, Bhandara, Washim and Sindhudurg received 5,000 doses each on Friday for this group of beneficiaries.
Thackeray said the state was starting with very limited doses and appealed to beneficiaries to not crowd the centres as vaccinations will be conducted only on the basis of registrations as per availability of stocks.
“We have received a limited stock of just 3 lakh doses, but we will start with it. We are ready to pay the entire amount required to purchase the 12 crore vaccines, but there is no availability. We will expand the drive based on the vaccine stocks,” CM Thackeray said.
State’s share of shots from Centre may drop
CM Uddhav Thackeray said on Friday that the two vaccine manufacturers—Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech—had promised a total of 18 lakh doses in May, but the date when these will be provided is not known yet.
Five centres in Mumbai will vaccinate people between 18-44 years old. The centres are BYL Nair at Mumbai Central, RN Cooper in Juhu, BKC jumbo centre in Bandra, Rajawadi in Ghatkopar and SevenHills in Andheri. Additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani said the vaccinations would be done strictly through online registration and no walk-ins would be allowed. “Recipients have to come for the time slots allotted by Co-Win. We will not have any specific windows for any age-group. The drive on Saturday is only for those between18-44 years and not for those above 45 years. We will open vaccination for people above 45 years once we receive vaccines from the state,” Kakani said.
Speaking to TOI earlier in the day, state health minister Rajesh Tope had told TOI the third phase of the drive covering the 18 and above age-group is being started in a symbolic way. Each district is expected to have five sessions catering to vaccinations for seven days. Officials said there is bound to be confusion on the first day as this decision has come two days after it was announced by the state that they will not be able to roll out the drive on May 1 due to unavailability of stocks.
To ensure a seamless registration process, Thackeray has written to the Centre demanding de-centralisation of the registration app. This comes a day after the CoWin app crashed due to the rush to register for the new phase of vaccination. Thackeray said the Centre should allow states to develop their own registration apps and link these to CoWin.
Meanwhile, state health department officials told TOI on Friday that no new vaccine stocks had come so far from the 50% quota that the Centre was to receive from vaccine manufacturers for the third phase of the drive from May 1.
Officials had earlier in the day clarified that the stock received from the Centre will be used in government vaccination centres for the 45+ group, healthcare and frontline workers and will not be disbursed to private hospitals. A public health department official said supplies from the Centre to Maharashtra are likely to drop significantly in the coming days as the state would now get vaccines from the Centre’s 50% quota that it buys from manufacturers.
Maharashtra would earlier get an average of 9-12 lakh doses every few days from the Centre, which is now likely to drop further, the official said.
– Inputs by Sumitra Deb Roy