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‘Vaccine availability still a challenge in Maharashtra’

Our Bureau. Mumbai | Updated on April 27, 2021

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope

Govt issues global tender for availability of oxygen, Remdesivir injections

The Health Minister of Maharashtra Rajesh Tope, on Tuesday, told mediapersons that the State may receive its supply of Covishield vaccine only after May 20.

The Minister said the availability of the vaccines was still a challenge. Maharashtra needs seven days quota, delivered in a single tranche, in order to vaccinate the maximum number of people in the State.

He said Maharashtra needs 12 crore vaccine vials for vaccinating a population of 5.71 crore in the age group of 18 to 44. The State government has sent letters to Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech, asking about the delivery schedule of vaccine supplies. The replies from the vaccine makers are awaited.

Various options

The State Health Department has prepared a note with various options for the vaccine drive, its costing, and how it would be implemented in the State. The State cabinet will come up with policy after discussions, Tope said.

The State government is expected to hold the customary Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

He said that keeping the current prices of vaccines in mind, the State will have to spend ₹7,500 crore for vaccinating 5.71 crore people. However, if the Centre intervenes, the prices of the vaccines could be reduced.

Global tender

The State government has issued a global tender for the availability of oxygen and Remdesivir injections. The tender has been issued for 40,000 oxygen concentrators, 132 Pressure Swing Adsorptions (PSA) equipment, 27 oxygen tanks, 25,000 metric tonnes of liquid oxygen, and one million vials of the injections, he said.

The Minister added that at present 1,615 metric tonnes of medical oxygen is being used in the State. A standard operating procedure has been developed for its economical use, and it has been sent to all hospitals. A new concept called Oxygen Nurse has been implemented in Nandurbar district, where a nurse has been appointed for 50 patients to monitor the use of oxygen. The concept seems to be successful and other hospitals in the State could try the same.

Published on April 27, 2021

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