As India reported over three lakh cases of coronavirus for the fourth straight day today, Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik announced that the state will vaccinate its residents for free. Adding that the move has been discussed in the state Cabinet, Nawab Malik said global tenders will be floated for vaccinations.
Maharashtra, the worst hit state in the country by Covid, has been reporting over 60,000 daily coronavirus cases for the last few days.
Maharashtra Cabinet Minister Aaditya Thackeray had earlier said that a third wave of COVID-19 was likely soon, though it cannot be determined now if it will be as strong as or weaker than than the second wave rampaging through the country now. He also said that even if vaccination doesn’t help right away, it will help prepare for the future.
The Prime Minister, during high-level meets to review the Covid situation, stressed that vaccination was “the biggest weapon” in the fight against coronavirus and urged doctors to encourage more and more patients to get the jabs.
The government earlier this week said the vaccine net will be widened to all people above 18 years of age from May 1 as the country sees an exponential rise in Covid infections.
The Centre which was buying vaccines from manufacturers and distributing them free of cost to states tweaked its policy after the announcement to allow states and private entities to buy doses directly from vaccine-makers.
A full blown war on the differential pricing of the vaccines for Centre and states ended with the Centre clarifying that vaccines procured by the central government will be provided to states for free.
Till April 19, Maharashtra had inoculated 1,22,83,050 people. 14,09,16,417 vaccine doses have been administered through 20,19,263 sessions, the Centre’s provisional report till 7 am today showed.
Apart from Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Goa, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Sikkim, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Haryana have promised free vaccines for all adults.
India has been witnessing a unprecedented spike in Covid cases as the deadly second waves sweeps through the country. This stunning speed of the surge has left the country reeling as patients are being turned away from hospitals due to scarcity of beds and oxygen.