Mumbai, May 12 : Owing to continued shortage of vaccines, the Maharashtra government on Wednesday decided to temporarily put on hold the inoculation drive for the 18-44 age groups, Health Minister Rajesh Tope said here.
The stocks would be diverted to carry out a seamless and hassle-free vaccination for the 45-plus age group category till adequate doses of the vaccines are made available.
The decision came after a cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
“The vaccination for the 18-44 age group commenced on May 1.Till date, we have vaccinated 5-6 lakh people in that category, however, there is a shortage of vaccines,” Tope told media persons.
He said that there is a scarcity of both brands of the vaccines – Covishield manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, Pune, and Covaxin, produced by Bharat Biotech International Ltd, Hyderabad.
The current priority is to give the second dose to the 45-plus age groups who have already got one jab which should not go waste owing to delays due to shortages, he pointed out.
“Efficacy of the vaccines may be affected if the second dose is not administered within the stipulated time period,” said Tope, justifying the government stand to keep in abeyance the drive for the 18-44 age groups.
The government is making requests for more stocks to the Centre besides trying to source it from the international markets and the BMC plans to float global tenders for the same this week.
In a related development, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation has announced ‘Walk-in Vaccination’ for senior citizens aged above 60 for three days from Monday.
“The Walk-in Vaccination shall be permitted for all above 60 years, all who are due for the second dose and all differently-abled people.The special drive shall be conducted in all government and civic-run vaccination centres across the city from May 17-19,” Municipal Commissioner I.S.Chahal said.