Centre should give vaccine free to the poor: Maha minister

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Mumbai, Jan 5 (PTI) The Maharashtra government will take 'appropriate' steps if the Centre doesn't make COIVID-19 vaccines available to the people living below the poverty line free of cost, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Tuesday.

Addressing reporters, Tope said two doses (of a COVID-19 vaccine) will cost Rs 500, and every person needs to take two doses.

'However, I am of the opinion that the Centre should bear the cost of purchasing the vaccines and supplying them to Maharashtra. Poor people can still find it difficult to pay Rs 500 for a vaccine,' he said.

Tope said the state government was expecting that the Centre will bear the cost of the vaccine at least for the people living below the poverty line.

'If the Centre does not take any step regarding our expectation, then chief minister and deputy chief minister will take appropriate steps on this front,' he told reporters.

On the availability of COVID-19 vaccine, Tope said the Centre might inform the state government in the next 10 days about the largescale availability of the dosages.

'Maharashtra will come to know about the availability of the vaccine dosages in the next ten days. The picture will be clear for us once the Centre shares more information about these issues,' he said.

On Sunday, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) approved Oxford COVID-19 vaccine Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute, and indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country, paving the way for a massive inoculation drive. PTI ND NSK NSK