The Union health ministry on Friday denied Covid-19 vaccine shortage in Maharashtra and called them “ill informed and incorrect”. Citing data available with the ministry as of date, it also said that the state had 2.4 million doses of Covaxin and 12.4 million doses of the Covishield vaccine remaining unutilised with it, which would last for 10 days and 30 days respectively. Furthermore, for Covishield, the state has 1.24 crore unutilized and balance doses available as on date.
Earlier, the Maharashtra government has asked the Centre to provide 50 lakh vials of Covishield and 40 lakh vials of Covaxin vaccines, in order to combat the spread of Omicron variant of Covid-19 in the state. The state public health Minister Rajesh Tope informed this after attending the virtual meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Chief Ministers and health ministers of different states on Thursday. Covaxin is required for the vaccination for the 15-18 age group and Covishield for people over 60 years of age and the frontline workers, he said. Tope said the Centre should give directions to the states on Standard Treatment Protocol. The minister said, people who test positive after undertaking tests through Home Testing Kits are not registered anywhere. He added that the state government has directed the Food and Drug Administration Department to collect information from the medical stores selling these testing kits. He also said that the Centre should issue guidelines for the mechanism to be put in place to maintain the records of people who have tested positive through home testing kits.
On January 3, the state had started the mass immunization programme for children. Since then, of the 60.63 lakh eligible children, it has vaccinated 22.97 lakh with the first dose of Covaxin at 650 centres. Simultaneously, the state is also administering Covaxin to beneficiaries who need to take second dose and booster shots. This has decreased the state’s stock of Covaxin vial from 50 lakh as on January 3 to 19 lakh on January 12.