MAHARASHTRA TO DIVERT COVAXIN DOSES FOR 45-PLUS AGE GROUP

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With the country reeling under the severe impact of the second wave of Covid-19, Maharashtra has been getting lower vaccine doses than it requires. Amid a shortage of Covid-19 vaccine doses, Maharashtra has suspended vaccination for those in the 18-44 age group who want Covaxin. The state government on Tuesday said it has decided to divert three lakh vials of Covaxin meant for the 18-44 age group for the use of people aged above 45 years.

Speaking to reporters, Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope on Tuesday said that the Covaxin stock will be diverted to those above 45 years of age who are due for a second dose of the Covid vaccine.

According to a report by the State Bank of India’s (SBI’s) economic wing, Maharashtra should have a share of 17.8% in the total vaccine allocation. However, as per the current data, its share is only 10.1%. “Even if we include the vaccine doses in the pipeline, the share is going to rise marginally to 10.2% which will still be below the required doses,” the report.

“Around 35,000 doses of Covaxin are available for people above 45 years, but over five lakh people need the second dose of Covaxin. For this, we are diverting Covaxin stock to those above 45 years of age,” Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope said.

The minister also demanded a separate vaccination app for Maharashtra. “There are technical difficulties and people from cities are taking vaccines in rural areas; therefore, we have requested for a separate app for Maharashtra,” the health minister said.

On mucormycosis, Tope said, “Multi-treatment is needed to treat mucormycosis. All hospitals do not have facilities to treat it, but we are preparing more hospitals which can treat mucormycosis. More than 2,000 cases in the state have been reported in state. Cases are likely to increase rapidly so immediate action is required on this.”

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has, meanwhile, been asked to explore the possibility of global procurement of Covid-19 vaccines to ensure efficient inoculation.

Maharashtra’s Covid-19 recovery rate stands at 86.97% as on 10 May, whereas according to the BMC, Mumbai’s recovery rate stands at 91%.