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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Maharashtra Govt looking at options to buy vaccines, says Tope

While he said that the government is planning to purchase Covishield doses for people in the age group of 18 to 45 years, he did not clarify whether they would have to pay to get their jabs at government hospitals.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
April 22, 2021 1:08:38 am
Maha Vikas Aghadi, BJP Maharashtra, Remdesivir, Remdesivir news, Remdesivir Maharashtra news, Health Minister Rajesh Tope, india news, indian expressMaharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope. (File Photo)

As Maharashtra prepares for the next phase of vaccination starting May 1, Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Wednesday that a dose of Covishield will cost state government hospitals Rs 400 and private hospitals Rs 600 to vaccinate those aged between 18 to 45 years.

While he said that the government is planning to purchase Covishield doses for people in the age group of 18 to 45 years, he did not clarify whether they would have to pay to get their jabs at government hospitals.

The state government will continue to provide free vaccines for healthcare workers, frontline workers and those aged above 45 years in government hospitals, Tope said. Private hospitals will have to buy their own stock from manufacturers and can now increase per dose price from Rs 250 to Rs 600, he added.

Tope said the state is also exploring options of importing vaccines from other manufacturers if supply from the Serum Institute of India cannot meet its demands. “We are trying our best to vaccinate the 18 to 45 age group, which is at most risk of infection as they venture out more,” he told mediapersons.

Referring to Sputnik V, Tope said the Russian vaccine is slated to cost Rs 750 per dose, while US manufacturers are slated to quote Rs 1,500 and the Chinese around Rs 750 for the jabs manufactured by them. “Covishield is cheaper and has good efficacy but we are looking at more options to ensure a steady supply,” he added.

Several health officials in the state government said they are yet to begin negotiation with a single manufacturer and are awaiting the Centre’s guidelines on the way forward. “We have not reached out to any manufacturer for quotation either,” an official from the Directorate of Health Services said.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had earlier asked the Centre to allow import of vaccines. So far, India has approved Covaxin, Covishield and Sputnik to vaccinate her people.

State Immunisation Officer Dr D N Patil said that officially, they have not begun talks with any manufacturer.

“We still have no clarity on the next phase of vaccination. We are awaiting the Centre’s guidelines. We want to scale up daily vaccinations, but that can only be planned if we know how much stock we will get. Currently, we hardly have enough stock to last two or three days,” he added.

Tope said that Maharashtra has asked the Centre to supply 500 MT of oxygen daily. At present, the Centre is supplying 300 MT from Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Telangana to Maharashtra. The state’s own production is 1,250 MT, while its requirement is 1,550 MT daily.

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