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‘Serum unable to supply Covishield doses to Maharashtra till May 26’

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope urged Centre to release Covaxin doses for beneficiaries waiting for their second dose

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune |
Updated: May 9, 2021 8:01:34 am
Long queues for vaccination for those in the 18-44 age group at Annasaheb Magar Hospital, Hadpsar, Pune on Wednesday. Express Photo By Pavan Khengre

Serum Institute of India chief Adar Poonawalla has told the Maharashtra government they would be unable to supply Covishield doses till May 26.

“Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had a telephonic chat with Poonawalla, currently in London, on the issue and was informed they could not give doses till May 26,” Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said at a media conference on Friday.

There should be no doubt Covid-19 vaccination is our top-most priority and no stone is left unturned to purchase Covid 19 vaccines directly from the manufacturers, Tope said. The state has shown readiness to purchase a maximum number of doses. We have the capability of vaccinating across 5-7000 centres and at least 8-10 lakh doses daily, he added. Till May 6, the state has administered the vaccine to 1.73 lakh beneficiaries.

Tope also flagged the need for an urgent supply of doses of Covaxin for beneficiaries waiting for their second jabs.

“Here we have urged the Centre time and again to release doses of Covaxin as a sizable chunk of four to five lakh beneficiaries are waiting for their second doses across the state,” Tope said. “The state has written several letters to the Centre for the Covaxin doses. However if the supply does not come on time we have no other option but to divert the doses purchased by the state for the age group 18-44 group for this group of beneficiaries who need the second shot of Covaxin,” Tope said.

The vaccination programme for the 18-44 age group had commenced on May 1 and so far 2.15 lakh beneficiaries have been vaccinated. For this the state had purchased three lakh Covishield vaccine doses, 4.79 lakh Covaxin doses and another 3.5 lakh doses of Covishield were awaited. Overall we had made an arrangement for the availability of 7.79 lakh doses for this age group . “The pace of vaccination is slow as there are limited doses but we are sparing no efforts to ensure adequate availability,” Tope said.

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