Due to the acute shortage of COVID-19 vaccines in Maharashtra, the state government on Wednesday decided to temporarily suspend its drive to vaccinate people in the age group of 18 to 44 and divert the available stock of doses for the above-45 age group, Health Minister Rajesh Tope said.
This decision was taken during the state cabinet meeting.
The minister also revealed that the Serum Institute of India (SII) has informed the Maharashtra government that it would be able to provide 1.5 crore Covishield vaccines to the state only from May 20 onwards.
“There is no sufficient supply of vaccine vials by the Centre for inoculation of above-45 age group people. Hence, the state cabinet decided to divert the stock, purchased for the 18-44 age group, for the above-45 age group. Therefore, we are suspending the inoculation of the 18-44 age group for some period,” Tope said.
While Covishield vaccine is manufactured by Pune-based SII, Covaxin is produced by Bharat Biotech.
“Adar Poonawalla of SII has informed Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray of his ability to supply around 1.5 crore vials of Covishield from May 20 onwards. Once we receive the supply, we will resume the vaccination of 18-44 age group,” the minister said.
On Tuesday, Tope had alleged that the Union government was not fulfilling its responsibility to provide adequate number of vaccine doses to states.