Maharashtra's Covid-19 Vaccine Stock to Last Only for Next 10 Days, Says State Health Minister

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Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Wednesday said the state's Covid-19 vaccine stock will last for next 10 days. He added that the state government wants to administer vaccines to three lakh people on a daily basis, which is why it has demanded 20 lakh doses for each week from the Centre.

In response to Union Minister Prakash Javadekar's reported tweet that 56 per cent of the vaccine doses sent to Maharashtra till March 12 were still unused, Tope said, “With all due respect to Javadekar, I have already informed the Union Health Ministry about the state's plan to inoculate three lakh people on a daily basis. At present, the state has a stock that will last only for the next 10 days.” In the last couple of days, over two lakh people were inoculated in Maharashtra on a daily basis to increase the coverage.

Maharashtra has requested for 367 more centres to carry out the vaccination drive in the state. The current rule mandates a 100-bed hospital to set up immunisation centre. “We have requested the Centre to permit even 50 or 20 -bed hospitals to set up centres if they meet the requirements of space and storage for vaccine among others,” the minister said.

This will increase the speed of inoculation and cover maximum population, he said. Speaking about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's interaction with various state governments over the pandemic situation, Tope said, "He has directed to increase tracing and testing. Strict following of home isolation is also required." The minister said he had pointed out that tracing was easier during the lockdown, but now most public places are crowded.

"In such a situation, there is a limitation for tracing if we have to match the standard ratio of 1:20 for every positive person. As per the ratio, for every infected person, 20 people whom he came in contact with should be traced and tested," he said.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray sought approval for starting more vaccination centres to expedite inoculation in the state and demanded that Mumbai-based Haffkine Institute be allowed to produce the COVID-19 vaccine. According to an official statement, Thackeray raised the demand during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s interaction via video conferencing with chief ministers of some states amid the surge in COVID-19 cases.

The PM promptly said institutes in all states which can produce the vaccine will be encouraged, according to the statement. Thackeray said those centres or hospitals which have the capability to conduct vaccination should be allowed to do so, adding that efforts will be taken to vaccinate three lakh people daily in the state.

As per the release, the Union health secretary, in his presentation, said Maharashtra had done a satisfactory job when it came to vaccination, but called for increasing the numbers. An average of 1,38,957 persons were being administered doses daily, and 35.52 lakh doses have been administered in Maharashtra till Wednesday, the statement said, adding that 31,38,463 doses are available with the state.

This is 10 days stock if three lakh people have to be vaccinated daily, Thackeray said and demanded more doses. Thackeray noted that Maharashtra had reported less than 2,000 daily cases on some days earlier this year, but the number of patients had increased in some districts recently.

(with inputs from PTI)