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At meeting with PM, Maharashtra CM demands adequate oxygen, remdesivir, vaccines

Thackeray further said the Centre should grant permission to states to import the vaccine and reiterated his demand to press in the Air Force and National Disaster Management Authority to fast-track the supply of oxygen.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
April 23, 2021 10:19:47 pm
Bombay High Court, Maharashtra government, Mumbai high court, Covid-19 drugs, Maharashtra news, india news, indian express, Maharashtra oxygen supply, Uddhav ThackerayMaharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray demanded an adequate supply of medical oxygen, remdesivir and vaccine from the Centre in a virtual meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday.

Thackeray further said the Centre should grant permission to states to import the vaccine and reiterated his demand to press in the Air Force and National Disaster Management Authority to fast-track the supply of oxygen.

Stating that Maharashtra needs more oxygen and an adequate supply of remdesivir, Thackeray said that there are more than 60,000 patients on oxygen while there are 76,300 oxygen beds in the state. “We tried to bring oxygen by train but considering the travel time and distance taken for it, the Air Force and National Disaster Management Authority need to be pressed into it,” said the CM, as per a statement.

Thackeray said that if the oxygen supply could be arranged from neighbouring states, instead of distant states, it would be available early. “If it is not possible to airlift oxygen, the empty tankers could be sent to the oxygen plants by Air Force, to save time, and it can be brought by other modes of transport,” he added.

The CM also said that the supply of vaccine to the state is moving at a very slow pace. “As of now, the state only had a stock of 5 lakh doses. Maharashtra has been the top performer in vaccinating citizens. So, the state must get an adequate supply of vaccine doses to keep the same pace of vaccinating,” he said, and sought 13,000 jumbo oxygen cylinders and 1,100 ventilators from the Centre.

Thackeray said that Maharashtra has 5.71 crore people in the age group of 18 to 44 and will require 12 crore doses to vaccinate this group. “The large-scale vaccinations in the UK have prevented the virus from spreading further. With the limited capacity of our vaccine manufacturers, we need guidance on whether we can increase vaccination by importing vaccines from other countries,” he said. “If the state asks permission to import vaccines, it should be granted.”

He further sought clarity on the Centre’s policy earmarking 50 per cent basket of vaccine doses for states, private and corporate hospitals in the open market. “There needs to be more clarity on the extent of the vaccine supply to the states,” he said.

Thackeray also said that the corporate sector should be given permission to purchase vaccines through their Corporate Social Responsibility initiative.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that all the major states, in the virtual meeting with PM, have demanded ‘one nation-one rate’ for vaccine and a decision is yet to be taken on it. “If the rates are reduced, we could buy more vaccines. If the demand is not met, the state will have to take responsibility of poor people. The decisions will have to be taken whether the corporates and others can take the responsibility of the vaccine on their own,” said Tope.

The minister also said that the state has decided to carry out the vaccination program for the age group of 18 to 44 aggressively. The state finance department will have to study the burden of vaccine cost and take a decision, he added.

Thackeray said that Maharashtra needs 70,000 vials of remdesivir daily but is getting only 27,000. “It is not possible to say how useful remdesivir is, but it is definitely reducing the hospital stay of the patients. So, the state should get an adequate supply of it considering the number of patients in the state,” he said, adding that the state should be allowed to import remdesivir.

The CM justified the lockdown in Maharashtra saying that the situation required strict restrictions. “The PM had said that lockdown was the last resort to break the chain of Covid. The situation in the state needed the strict restrictions which have been imposed but we are also ensuring that the economy does not suffer,” he said.

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