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Maharashtra marks 25 million shots, highest in India, but lags in 18-44 coverage | Mumbai News – Times of India


MUMBAI: Maharashtra hit the milestone of 25 million vaccinations on Wednesday, the highest by any state, retaining its top position in total doses administered.
Overall, 20million in the state have got at least one dose and 50 lakh are fully vaccinated. But when it comes to the 18-44 age group, Maharashtra is behind seven states.

Data shows barely 20lakh in the 18-44 age-group have got a single shot in Maharashtra. After starting a token drive for this bracket on May 1, the state discontinued it. The private sector did carry on, but they focused on urban hubs. In remote districts like Hingoli and Wardha, less than 7,000 from the 18-44 category have got vaccinated compared to 7lakh and nearly 5lakh in Mumbai and Pune respectively.
Dr Archana Patil, head of the directorate of health services, said the state suspended the drive for the 18-44 cohort as the numbers due for second doses were high. “We are completing those on priority. We want to vaccinate people above 45 years who are yet to take their first dose next,” she said. Immunisation officer Dr Dilip Patil said the policy of not vaccinating the 18-44 lot is likely to see a change from June 21 once adequate doses arrive from the Centre. “…we will catch up with other states in no time,” he said.
Dr Subhash Salunkhe, a technical advisor to the state, said shortage of doses and a shift in central policy forced the state to prioritise those more at risk of severe Covid or death. Overall, in Maharashtra, over 50lakh are fully vaccinated, which translates into 6% of the adult population while 24% (2crore) have got at least one dose.
On April 23, Union health ministry released a Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy, putting the onus on states to vaccinate the 18-44 group. Dr Santosh Shukla, head of immunisation in Madhya Pradesh, the state which has immunised the highest numbers in the 18-44 category, said they were the first to release an advance payment to Serum Institute of India and begin vaccinating from May 5.
“We didn’t want the young working population to stay unvaccinated, so we tried to cover everyone,” he said. He said MP adopted the ‘outbreak response immunisation’ approach. “We would vaccinate 500-1,000 houses in the proximity of an index case. In peri-urban areas, we covered a radius of 5km around an index case. And since people would be apprehensive on hearing about a case in their vicinity, they would willingly get vaccinated,” he said. The state also urged vaccinated frontliners to communicate about the benefits of vaccination to younger members in their families.

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