No vaccination for people aged 18-44 years before Maharashtra gets 30 lakh vials, says state health minister.

The nationwide Covid vaccination drive for people in the age group of 18-44 years is scheduled to start today and registration for the same has been open on the CoWIN platform. However, vaccination for Covid in Mumbai will remain completely closed for three days, i.e. from Friday, April 30, 2021 to Sunday, May 2, 2021, due to the “depletion of available vaccines”, said the city’s civic body in a notice on Thursday.

Speaking to the media, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said, “Unless Maharashtra gets between 25 lakh and 30 lakh vials, we will not commence the vaccination drive for the 18-44 age group. Stock should be sufficient for at least five days to start the vaccination drive.”

Vaccination centres have seen chaotic scenes throughout the week as people have been standing in long queues, grappling with cancellations on Co-Win and “out of stock” notices, particularly senior citizens who are due for their second doses.

A few citizens who queued up at the NESCO vaccination centre in Goregaon for hours complained to the mayor about the lack of planning. “If so many people crowd at vaccination centres, chances of getting infected by Covid cannot be ruled out,” said a woman outside the centre.

In Mumbai, a little over 61% of the estimated 40 lakh eligible for vaccination have taken the first dose, while merely 12% have taken both doses. The state’s overall inoculation count currently stands at over 1.55 crore.

Besides Maharashtra, several other states, including Punjab, Delhi and Tamil Nadu, have flagged low vaccine stocks.