No Covid vax for minors, pregnant women: Maha minister (Ld)

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Wednesday that the ‘Covishield’ vaccine will not be administered to people under 18 years of age, pregnant women and those with allergies, as per the Centre’s protocols.

“We have decided to give the full two-doses to the selected persons, the first dose now and the second after 4-6 weeks. However, those below 18 years, pregnant women or people with allergies shall not be administered the vaccine,” Tope told mediapersons.

He said so far, Maharashtra has received 963,000 doses of the expected 17,50,000 – which is around 55 per cent of the state government’s quota – from the manufacturers Serum Institute of India (SII), Pune.

Since Tuesday night, these vaccine doses are being dispatched all over the state, including the main depots in Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Kolhapur, Nashik, Akola, Nagpur and other places for onward distribution to the 511 designated vaccination centres.

Of these 511 centres, the maximum – 129 – have been allotted to the thickly-populated Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), which has recorded a staggering 19,274 Covid-19 fatalities and 677,220 cases in the past 10 months till date.

The worst-hit in the country by the Covid-19 pandemic with the maximum 11,200 deaths so far, the country’s commercial capital has got the lion’s share of 72 vaccination centres in the state.

The first lot of the ‘Covishield’ vaccine for Covid-19 reached Mumbai early on Wednesday morning, BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner I.S. Chahal said.

“The vaccine was brought from Pune to Mumbai by a special vehicle of the BMC with health officials and police security. The stock has already reached the BMC F/South Divisional Office in Parel,” Chahal told IANS.

The SII has given about 139,500 doses to BMC for the vaccination drive to be held at 72 centres in Mumbai, and from the F/South Divisional Office, it will be dispatched to various vaccination centres in Mumbai over the next couple of days.

“It will be possible for us to start the vaccination in Mumbai on January 16, coinciding with the national launch of vaccination drive,” Chahal added.

As per current plans, around 100 persons – or nearly 7,200 in Mumbai city – shall be administered the vaccine jab daily, Tope said.

Earlier this morning, the civic staff at the BMC F /South Division office welcomed the life-saving vaccine with cheers, claps, garlands and ‘poojas’.

Then, it was taken for storage in the temperature-controlled vaccine strong room on the ground floor, as per the prescribed Centre and state government protocols.