Maharashtra to give free Covid vaccine jabs to all above 18

In a significant decision, Maharashtra’s Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government has decided to vaccinate all the people in the state aged 18-45 free of cost, a minister said on Sunday.

The state will bear the cost of inoculation of all its people between the age group of 18-45, from the next phase which will start on May 1.

The ongoing vaccination drive and the plans ahead for the second phase were discussed at the weekly Cabinet meeting last week, said Nationalist Congress Party national spokesperson and Minorities Affairs Minister Nawab Malik.

Later, Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister Ajit Pawar announced that the would float global tenders and vaccines would be purchased for the people of the state.

“Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray would make an announcement in this regard soon,” he said.

Informing the media on Sunday, Malik said that in the time of crisis the government would go out and help its people.

“As per the Deputy CM’s announcement, we will float tenders and get the best vaccine at the most competitive rates. We need to procure nearly 14 crore vaccine doses as two jabs are needed,” he said.

The government’s top officials are also in touch with managements of Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) and Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech (BB), which are manufacturers of Covishield and Covaxin, respectively, which are currently administered in the country.

Both companies have given vaccines to the Centre at Rs 150 per dose.

Serum Institute has offered vaccine at Rs 400 per dose for state governments and Rs 600 per dose for private hospitals, while Bharat Biotech vaccine will be available at Rs 600 per dose for state hospitals and Rs 1,200 per dose for private hospitals.

The MVA announcement was greeted with approval on social media as the state is the worst-hit by the corona pandemic.

Maharashtra, along with other states, had earlier also objected to the Centre’s new vaccination policy and related issues.