Cabinet Ministers of the Maharashtra Government are of the opinion that the duration of the restricted lockdown should be extended from May 15 to May 30. However, the final decision and announcement about the extension will soon be made by the Chief Minister, said State Health Minister, Rajesh Tope, on Wednesday.
Tope was addressing the media after the weekly Cabinet meeting. He said that before the lockdown the number of Covid patients in Maharashtra had reached about 7 lakh, but today that number has reduced to 4.75 lakh, which is a huge decline. The country’s per day growth rate is 1.4, while Maharashtra’s is 0.8. Maharashtra is among those States with a declining number of patients.
He said that in view of the vaccine shortage, the government has decided to temporarily suspend the vaccination for those between 18 and 44 years of age. The available stocks, purchased by the State Government, will be diverted to those above 45 years of age who are due to for their second dose of the vaccine.
Tope explained that it is the responsibility of the Government of India to provide vaccines for people above 45 years of age, but they are unable to provide the vaccines.
On the other hand, many people above 45 years, who have taken their first vaccines, are due for their second dose. If the second dose is not given then the first dose will become ineffective. Therefore, the State Government has to provide the second dose from the purchased stocks.
The Health Minister said that the CEO of Serum Institute of India, Adar Poonawalla, has spoken to the Chief Minister and has said that after May 20 the company will be able to provide 1.5 crore dosages per month.
Only after the arrival of the new stocks, the State Government will be able to decide about restarting the vaccination for the 18 to 44 age group.