Maharashtra CM, Adar Poonawalla meet online to plan for 18-45 vaccine drive | Mumbai News – Times of India

MUMBAI: Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday held a virtual meeting with Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute of India (SII), to plan for the vaccination drive for the 18-45 age group that kicks off on May 1. An estimated 8.5 crore people in Maharashtra will be eligible to get the vaccine in the age bracket.
So far, 1.2 crore have been administered at least one dose and nearly 15 lakh have got both doses. Senior officials said it was a very brief meeting to discuss how much stock will Serum, which manufactures Covishield, be able to provide to the state considering its previous commitments. There was no discussion on price negotiations, said an official.
Thackeray is likely to hold a detailed meeting on vaccinations in a day or two.
TOI reported on Wednesday that with Serum and Bharat Biotech’s entire monthly capacity tied up under the Centre’s advance purchase agreement, there may not be much capacity left to supply to state governments or the private market. Serum, in particular, will be able to market Covishield in the private market only after a few months, and not before August or September, sources had said.
SII has fixed the price of Covishield at Rs 600 per dose for private hospitals and Rs 400 for the state governments. An official from the state said they may consider free vaccination for a section of society that may not be able to afford it. A meeting between state health officials and the Centre was also held on Wednesday to plan for the drive from May 1. Dr T P Lahane, director of Medical Education and Research (DMER), said detailed discussions on vaccine strategy and procurement would be held in the next few days.
Public health minister Rajesh Tope said the state has decided the vaccination drive for the 18-45 group should be done on priority and there will be no budgetary constraints to purchase the required doses. “If necessary, budget from other funds will be diverted for it,” said Tope.
In Mumbai, cabinet minister Aaditya Thackeray said vaccination centres should be started in all 227 corporator wards, considering all aged above 18 will be eligible to take the jab from May 1. He was talking at the inauguration of the vaccination centre at Acworth Leprosy Hospital in Wadala. The city currently has 129 vaccination centres, including 73 private facilities.
Private hospitals are waiting for better clarity on the road ahead. Some may even consider directly negotiating prices with manufacturers, said Joy Chakraborty, COO of P D Hinduja Hospital. Private sector is anticipating a rise in demand for vaccines with the drive being opened for all adults, he said.
On Wednesday, 36,045 got vaccinated, including 17,484 above 45 years and 14,786 seniors. Civic authorities said as many as 39 private centres did not conduct sessions due to non-availability of vaccines. This was the third day in a row that many private centres couldn’t vaccinate.

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