When will Covid mass vaccination drive start, asks Maharashtrians dreading another lockdown

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune February 23 | Updated on February 23, 2021

Centre must take a call, says Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray

As a worry of complete lockdown looms large over many Maharashtra cities, citizens are asking the government to start vaccination for common people. However, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has said the Central government must take a call on the mass vaccination programme.

In his recent address to the State, Thackeray said the government will have to consider imposing a lockdown if the number of Covid-19 cases multiplies in the next 8-10 days. He said people are asking when vaccination will be open for common citizens. “That depends on the Central government, which decides the programme that will determine how much vaccines should be allocated to the States and how much should be provided to other countries.” He indirectly hinted that the Centre must fulfil the local demand before catering to the world market.

Interestingly, the day Chief Minister addressed the State on Sunday, Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla tweeted: “Dear countries & governments, as you await #COVISHIELD supplies, I humbly request you to please be patient, @SerumInstIndia has been directed to prioritise the huge needs of India and along with that balance the needs of the rest of the world. We are trying our best.”

Dnyaneshwar Shelke, who owns a transport business, says the Central and the State governments must take a call on mass vaccination as soon as possible. “We cannot survive another series of lockdowns. Already, businesses have faced heavy losses in the last year. It is only in the last few months we are trying to get back on track and again the government is warning of a lockdown. What is the government doing by sitting on the stock of vaccines?” he asked.

Safe vaccine

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government is trying to convince all frontline workers to get vaccinated. The Chief Minister has appealed to frontline workers including doctors and police that there are no side-effects of the vaccine and no one must skip the jab.

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader Sandeep Deshpande alleged that the State government is trying to avoid the upcoming State legislature session by creating panic among people. He said the sudden jump in the number of Covid-19 patients was suspicious.

Published on February 23, 2021

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