The Maharashtra government will vaccinate all its citizens free of cost, State Minister Nawab Malik announced on Sunday. A massive vaccination drive is already underway in the country whereas, from May 1, all those above 18 years of age will be eligible to get vaccine shots. India is currently battling the second wave of coronavirus with daily cases touching nearly 3.5 lakh mark.
Maharashtra is the worst-hit state by covid-19 and has been reporting more than 60,000 daily coronavirus cases for the last few days. Though the death toll fell on Saturday, even as the state's case tally zoomed past the 42 lakh mark, with an increase in the number of active cases, health officials said.
Adding that the move has been discussed with the state cabinet, Nawab Malik said global tenders will be floated for vaccinations.
Earlier, Maharashtra Cabinet Minister Aaditya Thackeray had said that the 2nd wave of COVID-19 was likely soon, though it cannot be determined now if it will be as strong as or weaker than the 1st wave of the pandemic. He also added that even if vaccination doesn't help right away, it will help prepare for the future.
The prime minister during a covid situation review meeting had stressed intensifying vaccination and said it is "the biggest weapon" in the fight against coronavirus and urged doctors to encourage more and more patients to get the jabs.
On Monday, the centre announced that the vaccine scale will be widened to all people above 18 years of age from May 1 as the country sees a rampant increase in Covid infections.
Maharashtra had immunised 1,22,83,050 people till April 19, while 14,09,16,417 vaccine doses have been administered through 20,19,263 sessions.
Apart from Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Goa, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Sikkim, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Haryana are amongst other states that have announced free vaccination for all adults in the state.