February 10, 2021 8:00:46 am
The state government tentatively plans to begin the registration of those aged above 50 years and people with comorbidities from March 1 for the next phase of vaccination, Maharashtra Health minister Rajesh Tope said on Tuesday.
“We have received no communication from the Central government about the next phase of vaccination. However, an estimate has been drawn to start the process of identifying them (the beneficiaries) from next month,” Tope said.
Earlier, Tope had stated the state government has no clarity on whether the Centre will pay for the vaccination of senior citizens and people with comorbidities, or if the state government would bear the cost. Tope had told The Indian Express that the state government could spend from the contingency fund if needed.
The Union Health Ministry has assured all states that it will provide the initial vaccine stock to immunise 30 crore people from the priority population, comprising healthcare workers and frontline workers. Maharashtra has a list of 10.54 lakh healthcare workers and estimates to have about 20 lakh frontline workers, including police, municipal staff, defence, Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) drivers and conductors. So far, the data of 5.47 lakh frontline workers has been uploaded on the CoWIN portal.
So far, Maharashtra has immunised 4.68 lakh healthcare workers and another 41,453 frontline workers. Overall, the state has crossed the five lakh mark in its first dosing. From next week, it will begin administering a second dose, given after 28 days of first dose. In Mumbai, 89,194 people have been vaccinated till date. On Tuesday, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation set a target of 9,225 vaccinations and was able to immunise 6,310 people.
State Immunisation Officer Dr DN Patil said that since the vaccination process is voluntary, the government cannot set a fixed target to finish vaccinating all healthcare and frontline workers. “We have scaled to more than 600 centres. The numbers will increase now as more people come for vaccination and simultaneously, we will begin the second dosing,” he said.
Tope added he will discuss the staggering timing of offices to ease transportation in local trains with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
“Overcrowding is not suitable in the present time. Both government and private offices need to stagger timing to ensure there is social distancing,” he said.
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