The second wave of Covid-19 has throttled India like never before. The richest state of the country, Maharashtra is amongst the worst affected states. With cases rising each and every day, the Maharashtra government has taken swift measures. On April 28, 2021, the state government cleared its plan to provide vaccines for free.
The state requires 120 million doses to vaccinate its entire population. Also, vaccination centres and facilities are needed to be set up accordingly for the entire humongous population. Health Minister, Rajesh Tope spoke about how it would cost the government Rs 6,500 crores to inoculate its population of 57.1 million citizens from the age of 18 to 44 years within a span of six months. While the plan seems perfect in itself, what is the hold-up? The biggest challenge the Maharashtra government is facing is the vaccine shortage.
Maharashtra in jeopardy: The vaccine shortage
While the plan was to vaccinate citizens between the ages of 18 and 44 from May 1, 2021, it has been halted currently due to the unavailability of sufficient numbers of vaccine doses. The state said that this plan will be resumed after getting sufficient vaccine doses. The government will still continue to vaccinate all its citizens in next six months as planned. The age group of 18 to 44 years will be vaccinated for free in the government vaccination centres as declared. However, those who take their jabs at private facilities will have to pay for it.
The state requires 120 million doses to vaccinate its entire population.
The Health Minister has asked the age group of 18 to 44 to be patient. Also, the Co-WIN app needs to be compulsorily installed by citizens. Only by registering on the app, one can take an appointment for the vaccine. This will ensure that the vaccination centres are not crowded and end up spreading COVID-19.
Currently, only citizens who are above 45 years are being vaccinated. The government has also declared that for citizens between 18 to 44 years, separate vaccination centers will be established. The Minister has also reassured by confirming that the state jab wastage rate is 1%, way less than the national average of over 6%.
The ray of hope
The Serum Institute of India has promised to supply up to 10 million doses of vaccination every month to the state. While there is a shortage, Bharat Biotech has assured the Maharashtra government that it will accelerate its supply soon.
In the month of June and July, the company assured that they will be sending a supply of 2 million doses per month. The Chief Minister of Maharashtra is also in talks with the manufacturers of Sputnik V, a Russian vaccine. The government is tapping on all resorts to get the vaccine available for the state.
However, if the shortage has not been met by the institutions soon, the Rs 6500 Cr plan of the Maharashtra Government may go on the blink.