Maharashtra receives 4.59 lakh doses, will last till weekend

Private centres in Mumbai to be shut for 3 days.

Of 17.43 lakh Covishield doses assured, Maharashtra received 4.59 lakh doses by Friday night. The fresh stock will extend the state’s immunisation drive till the weekend. Districts said that if more stock does not come by Sunday, centres will remain shut on Monday.

Mumbai is slated for around 1 lakh doses; on Friday night Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had sent its vehicle to Pune to collect the vials.

Mumbai will shut all its 72 private vaccination centres for the next three days in view of vaccine shortage. “If we don’t receive more stock by Sunday, even government centres will be shut from Monday,” said Dr Mangala Gomare, executive health officer in BMC.

On Thursday, 3.54 lakh people were immunised across the state, and the dip in daily vaccinations was due to vials shortage. As multiple districts awaited fresh supply on Friday, several centres continued to remain shut for a second day. In Mumbai over 70 centres were shut, Gomare said.

Sangli, Satara, Kolhapur, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Panvel, most centres in Mumbai and Pune had run out of vials. Shekhar Singh, Satara Collector, said most of their centres were shut since Thursday except some rural centres that had few doses left. “We have been communicated that new supply will come, even we are waiting,” he said.

In Mumbai, most private centres were forced to close their vaccination centres on Friday. The few that continued said they had limited stock. Dr Santosh Shetty, CEO in Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, said the hospital continued limited vaccination on Friday. “But we will need more stock to continue the exercise. We have few vials left,” he said.

Dr Vaibhav Deogirkar, medical director in Hindusabha Hospital, said they shut their centre from Friday afternoon after 17 vials in stock got exhausted. Government centres were equally affected. Dr Neelam Andrade, dean in NESCO centre, said, “We could vaccinate 3,500 people today and had to turn away the rest. There is always a huge crowd at our centre.”

NESCO centre will receive 1,500 vials by Saturday morning and will continue vaccination. Civic officials said they decided to only operate government centres because the stock was limited. An official said multiple letters have been written to the state government for more stock. “But state officials are equally helpless,” a senior civic official said.

In Aurangabad, Collector Sunil Chavan said he has placed an order of 9 lakh doses with the state government to scale up vaccination in the district. Aurangabad is one of 10 worst Covid-affected districts in India with positivity rate as high as 43 per cent until March end. Chavan said they want to increase daily vaccinations to cover the population faster. “We have 13,000 doses in the city and 700 doses in rural centres left. In some rural centres vaccination may have stopped if they ran out of stock. We have more than 100 rural vaccination centres.”

Health Minister Rajesh Tope said they have demanded at least a week’s stock from the central government to smoothly run immunisation. In a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray had communicated the same with a demand to vaccinate the younger population. The state aims to vaccinate 6 lakh people a day and requires 40 lakh doses each week.

Presently, of 350 lakh new doses with Union Health Ministry, Maharashtra will receive 17.43 lakh, Uttar Pradesh 44.98 lakh, Madhya Pradesh 33.76 lakh, Karnataka 29.06 lakh, Harayana 24 lakh, Gujarat 15.57 lakh, West Bengal 21.05 lakh. There are some states receiving less than 10 lakh doses, including Himachal Pradesh 1.93 lakh, Kerala 7.74 lakh, Jammu and Kashmir 1.6 lakh, Odisha 3.49 lakh, Rajasthan 3.83 lakh, Tamil Nadu 2.21 lakh and Telangana 1.62 lakh.

Maharashtra will receive 17.43 lakh doses in batches. Officials said they will have to transport new stock to various districts each day if the Centre supplies small quantities. The state is vaccinating around 4 lakh people a day, and will increase it to 6 lakh to fight the surge in Covid-19 cases. On Friday 58,993 new cases were diagnosed and 301 deaths recorded, with active caseload touching 5.34 lakh.

Mumbai crossed the 5 lakh mark in total Covid infections with 9,202 fresh cases. The city recorded 35 deaths due to the infection.

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