Give one week's COVID-19 vaccines to Maha at a time: Tope to Centre

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Mumbai, Apr 21 (PTI) The Maharashtra government needs to have one week's stock of COVID-19 vaccines at one go so that it can vaccinate up to eight lakh people on a daily basis, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope said.

Speaking to reporters, he said, 'The Maharashtra government has several times urged the Centre to provide one week's stock (of vaccines) at a time to the state which would enable us to inoculate up to eight lakh people daily.' It is a huge state geographically and it takes at least two days for us to carry the vaccine stock from one corner to another, he said.

'Several letters have been sent to the Centre over it, but our demand has never been listened to. The central government's supply of vaccines is much less than our requirement, hence our pace (of vaccination) is slow,' said the minister.

Tope also complained that the Centre allowed only 60 metric tonnes of liquid medical oxygen from the Bhilai plant to Maharashtra.

'Earlier, the proposal of liquid medical oxygen was of 110 metric tonnes (MT), but it was changed to 60 MT. But it would not be sufficient for the state for meeting the demand of oxygen in Vidarbha region,' he said.

The state is expected to receive 200 MT each from Jamnagar refinery plant in Gujarat and a plant in Telangana.

'Now we have moved our request to Jamnagar refinery to allot additional 50 MT of oxygen,' he said.

The state government has also decided to utilise the thermal power plants in Maharashtra, where oxygen is generated in huge quantity, for medical purposes.

'However, there are no bottling plants near these thermal units Khaparkheda in Nagpur, Paras in Akola and Parli in Beed. We will set up a 500-bed oxygen Covid Centre near every thermal plant, so that COVID-19 patients will get oxygen at the local level and we will be able to save many lives,' the minister said.

'The state is also planning to request various industries, where oxygen is generated at local level. We will use it for local consumption,' he said.

Commenting on Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's meeting with Remdesivir producers, he said, 'The Maharashtra government has sought a supply of 60,000 vials of Remdesivir on a daily basis. It will be distributed to hospitals via government. No individual or organisation will have any role in it.' 'We have also told them that the state may require one lakh vials on a daily basis from May 1 onwards to treat the patients,' he said. PTI ND NP NP