Maha: Covishield vaccine supply unlikely to start from May 20
Mumbai, May 19 (PTI) Even as the Maharashtra government had earlier said that the state would start getting Covishield vaccine doses May 20 onwards, that possibility appears to be dim as minister Rajesh Tope on Wednesday said they would come to know about the supply once SII CEO Adar Poonawalla returns to India from abroad.
On May 13, Tope had said that the Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO had promised Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray that 1.5 crore Covishield doses would be given to the state after May 20.
When asked about it on Wednesday, Tope, the state Health Minister, said, "Once Poonawalla returns to India, we will come to know about the the availability of the vaccines." The state government has some five lakh vials of Covishield and Covaxin, which is going to be used for completion of second dose as well as first dose of people in above 45 age group, he said.
The government has also floated a global tender for vaccine procurement, which will remain open till May 25, the minister said.
However, some of the approvals for procurement of vials need the Centre's approval, he added.
"Maharashtra has administered some 2.02 crore doses to people so far, which is the highest in the country. Various measures taken by the state to minimise the infection has resulted into the growth rate being 0.5 per cent. Among 36 states in the country, Maharashtra is at the 34th position (in terms of COVID-19 growth)," he said.
The states recovery rate is above 90 per cent now, Tope added.
When asked about recruitment in the health department, the minister said, "The state will finalise the recruitment agency in the next 4-5 days. We will expedite the procedure of recruitment. I have also held meetings with other state departments concerned such as general administration to fill the vacancies by promotion." "Some posts have be filled throuogh promotions and the state government is expediting the process. We are trying to complete the entire exercise within the next two months," he said.
According to Tope, the state-run hospitals and medical colleges will have 100 per cent staff once the recruitment drive is over.