Maharashtra will vaccinate its citizens for free. Minister Nawab Malik made the announcement as the state reported over 60,000 daily cases. Malik said that the move has been discussed with the state cabinet and that global tenders will be floated for the vaccinations.
India reported over 3 lakh coronavirus cases for the fourth day straight and Maharashtra was one of the worst affected states. Even as India continues to battle the second COVID-19 wave, Cabinet Minister Aaditya Thackeray said that a third wave is likely soon. He added that it cannot be determined now if the wave will be stronger or weaker than the second wave. He had said that even if vaccination does not help right away, it will in the future.
The government had opened up the vaccination drive to include people of 18 years and above from May 1. The Centre also tweaked its policy to allow states to procure oxygen from manufacturers directly.
So far, Maharashtra has vaccinated 1,22,83,050 people. Apart from Maharashtra, Haryana, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Goa, Bihar, Assam, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana will also roll out vaccines for free.
During his Mann Ki Baat radio programme, PM Modi urged all Indians to get themselves vaccinated. He also asked them not to pay heed to rumours. "I urge people to not fall prey to any rumour about the vaccine. You all must be aware that government has sent free vaccines to all state governments. All people above 45 yrs of age can benefit from this. From May 1, vaccines will be available for every person above 18 years of age," he said. PM Modi also asked corporate sector to pitch in and get all employees vaccinated.