Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla has assured Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray of providing a supply of 1.5 crore doses of Covishield after May 20, health minister Rajesh Tope said on Wednesday.
Tope told reporters the state will start the vaccination drive for the 18-44 years age group after they receive the consignment, NDTV reported.
The Maharashtra cabinet held a meeting on Wednesday to deliberate on the management of the pandemic in the state.
Low on vaccine supply, the state has temporarily suspended vaccination for the 18-44 years age group.
On this, Tope said all the doses purchased by the state government for that age group will now be diverted for those aged above 45 years.
The minister, responding to a question on the extension of lockdown, said that at the Cabinet meeting, the health department and other ministers proposed to extend the lockdown for 15 days. “The chief minister will take a final decision on this matter,” he said.
State minister Aslam Sheikh, meanwhile, said the central government should relax the norms for buying vaccines.
He said if the Centre eases its import laws, then the state will be able to vaccinate the people in 3-4 months.
“More rights need to be given to states so that we can purchase vaccines from the market and vaccinate people,” Sheikh added.
Maharashtra reported 46,781 fresh COVID-19 cases and 816 deaths in the last 24 hours. The total death count now stands at 78,007.
As many as 58,805 patients have recovered in the last 24 hours, taking the total recoveries to 46,00,196. The active cases stands at 5,46,129.