Amid a shortage of COVID-19 vaccine does, the Maharashtra government on Tuesday decided to divert three lakh vials of Covaxin meant for the 18-44 age group for the use of the people aged 45 years and above. Speaking to reporters, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope also said more than five lakh people above 45 years are awaiting the second dose for the want of the vaccine.
“Efficacy of the vaccine is largely affected if the second dose is not administered in a stipulated time. To avoid such health crisis, the state government has decided to divert three lakh vials (of Covaxin) purchased for the 18-44 age category for the people above 45 years,” Tope said.
He said only 35,000 vials of Covaxin are currently available with the state government for administering the second dose to the people above 45 years. According to the Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy, COVID-19 vaccination is free at government vaccination centres that receive doses from the Centre for eligible population groups comprising healthcare workers, frontline workers and people above the 45 years of age.
However, states and private hospitals have to procure 50 per cent of the vaccines in order to immunise persons in the age group of 18 to 44 years.