Maharashtra will stop COVID-19 vaccination through Covaxin for people in 18-45 age category and will use its stock of 3 lakh Covaxin doses to vaccinate people above 45 years of age amidst a shortage of vaccines.
There are about 5 lakh people above 45 years of age in Maharashtra who are awaiting the second dose for the want of the vaccine.
"Efficacy of the vaccine is largely affected if the second dose is not administered in a stipulated time. To avoid such health crisis, the state government has decided to divert three lakh vials (of Covaxin) purchased for the 18-44 age category for the people above 45 years," Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said.
The state government currently has only 35,000 doses of Covaxin for administering second dose to those above 45 years old.
As per the phase III of vaccination programme, which began from May 1, vaccine manufacturers are permitted to release up to 50 per cent of their supply to state governments and in the open market at a pre-declared price for vaccination of 18-44 years category. The Centre's free vaccination for frontline and healthcare workers and those aged above 45 years is continuing free of cost at government vaccination centres.
Tope also said that a decision on extension of lockdown in the state will be taken during the Cabinet meeting to be held on Thursday.
The number of daily coronavirus positive cases in the state, which has been reeling under the resurgent pandemic, dropped below 40,000 to 37,236 on Monday for the first time after March 31. It reported 549 fatalities taking the death toll to 76,398 because of the infection.