Mumbai, Jan 5: The Maharashtra government will seek some clarifications from the Centre on the two COVID-19 vaccines approved for the restricted emergency use before launching a mass inoculation drive in the state, Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Tuesday.
Addressing reporters, Tope also said a dry run will be conducted across Maharashtra on January 8 to check the preparedness of the mechanism rolled out for the vaccination exercise.
On the availability of COVID-19 vaccine, Tope said the Centre might inform the state government in the next 10 days about the largescale availability of the dosages.
He said cold storage facilities and supply chains are being set up in Maharashtra, which he said is ready to launch the mass vaccination.
“There are some clarifications we are seeking from the Centre about the approved vaccines, as they have been cleared for use citing the emergency situation. Maharashtra will raise its concerns about the vaccines during national video conference with Union health minister scheduled on January 7,” Tope said.
A dry run to assess the readiness of the mechanism laid out for the COVID-19 immunisation drive, which is expected to begin soon, was conducted in four districts of Maharashtra on Saturday.
“Maharashtra will join the nationwide dry run on January 8 which will be conducted in every district of the state. The mock drill will be helpful for the state to see whether the system developed for mass vaccination is working properly on not,” Tope said.
On Sunday, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) approved Oxford COVID-19 vaccine Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute, and indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country, paving the way for a massive inoculation drive.
Commenting on the cost of a vaccine, Tope said that the Centre should provide a vaccine free to those living under below the poverty line.
“Two doses (of a vaccine) will cost Rs 500 as every person needs to take two doses. However, I am of the opinion that the Centre should bear the cost of purchasing vaccines and supplying them to Maharashtra”. – PTI