Following the flop response it received after inviting global bids for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine doses, the Maharashtra government is now banking solely on the distributor of Sputnik V. Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that the state would get a large stock of the Russian vaccine doses in July-August. He, however, did not divulge further details.
“The state government's ambitious vaccination drive for citizens above 18 years of age has come to a standstill due to insufficient availability of vaccines from the central government. We are trying to find a way out. Russia's Sputnik V vaccine has raised great hopes. The state government has also held discussions with vaccine distributors in this regard,” said Tope. According to him, a large stock of the Sputnik V vaccine will be available in the state from July-August.
A senior bureaucrat told the Free Press Journal, “The vaccine supplier has dropped sufficient hints to provide 2 crore doses. It has indicated that the vaccine price will be $20 for two doses. However, there is no final proposal yet, as it is still at the discussion stage.”
Tope reiterated that the central government should intervene and formulate a clear policy on vaccine imports to address the issue of vaccine availability in the states. If this happens, it will help to resolve the issue quickly.
He added that citizens who have been vaccinated should also observe the COVID-19 protocols. "Citizens who have taken both the doses are also required to wear masks and maintain a safe distance," he added.
Moreover, Tope said the state government has geared up to tackle the third wave of COVID-19.
Reacting to the unlock in the state from Monday, he added that the citizens should strictly abide by the protocols. “Since the spread is not uniform across the state, five different levels have been determined based on the weekly positivity rate and the occupancy of oxygen beds. The number of active patients in five districts, including Nandurbar, Buldhana, Yavatmal, Gondia and Gadchiroli is below 1,000. Not a single patient has died in 13 metropolitan areas and eight districts of the state,” said Tope.
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