As it inches closer to the 500,000 mark for Covid-19 vaccinations, the state government said it is all set to administer the mandatory second doses to healthcare workers (HCWs) from February 13.
The registration of beneficiaries for the third phase (meant for citizens with comorbidities and those above 50 years of age) is likely to take more time, state officials said. The Central government had on Friday announced that the third phase is likely to commence from March.
The state government has also clarified about the stricture in the Economic Survey of India tabled in Parliament that the number of Covid-19 patients in the state was high owing to the large number of international fliers arriving in cities like Mumbai and Pune.
It also said that Maharashtra on behalf of the country took the brunt of the disease in the beginning.
According to the economic survey presented in Parliament last week, Maharashtra “underperformed the most” in handling the spread of Covid-19.
The survey said, “Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Bihar have restricted the case spread the best; Kerala, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have saved the most lives; Maharashtra has underperformed the most in restricting the spread of cases and in saving lives.”
A statement from the state health department on Sunday said, “With reference to remarks in the economic survey, Covid-19 is an infection imported from outside the country into India and naturally the state and the cities where arrival of international passengers was maximum were the most severely affected states. Maharashtra and Mumbai and Pune in particular cater to one of the largest number of international arrivals in the country… Maharashtra on behalf of the country took the brunt of the disease in the beginning.”
Regarding Covid-19 cases per million of the population, Maharashtra had 16,008 infections as of February 2, 6th in the country after Delhi, Goa, Puducherry, Kerala, and Chandigarh, even though the state had the highest number of Covid-19 cases in absolute numbers, the statement said. Maharashtra is also not the state with the highest number of deaths per million of the population, at 403 deaths, after Delhi, Goa, and Puducherry, as of February 2. Maharashtra’s numbers is around 290 per million population, while Kerala has more than 2,000 active cases per million population, it added.
The statement said, “These details will show that Maharashtra has performed really well in containing the Covid-19 epidemic and at the same time opening up the economic activities on behalf of the country when Mumbai and Pune the cities, which are economic hub were allowed to function early during the epidemic.”
The Maharashtra government will start administering the second dose of the vaccine for healthcare workers, part of phase 1 of the vaccination drive, on February 13. This day completes 28 days from the day vaccination started on January 16.
Dr Pradeep Vyas, principal secretary of the state’s public health department, said on Sunday, “It will be some time before registration for phase three of the Covid-19 vaccine starts. The second dose for beneficiaries of phase one, which is healthcare workers, will start 28 days after they received their first dose.”
So far, a total of 472,805 beneficiaries have been vaccinated in 14 sessions since January 16. Of them, 444,448 are healthcare workers and 25,600 are frontline workers. Maharashtra has around 800,000 healthcare workers and 580,000 frontline workers registered on the CoWIN application, the automated system launched by the Central government to systematically administer vaccine shots across the country. So far, the state has received a total of 1,972,400 vaccine doses, of which 170,400 are Covaxin doses, and 1,802,000 are Covishield doses.
Approximately 3 million people in Mumbai would qualify for phase three of the covid-19 vaccination drive. Suresh Kakani, Additional Municipal Commissioner of the municipal public health department said, “So far we have information about so many people who will qualify as beneficiaries in the third phase, as per data collected by the municipal corporation in the My Family, My Responsibility drive. However, we will have to see if all these people have the necessary documentation to register on the app, such as Aadhar Card.”
If the government allows integration of electoral data for registration of beneficiaries for phase three, the process may get simpler, according to officials, who are awaiting directives from the central government. Once the registration drive starts for phase three, it will take not more than 15 days for BMC officials to register individuals, civic officials said. However, if citizens have to register themselves, it may take longer. Kakani said, “BMC will deploy the necessary manpower, as needed.”
Maharashtra on Sunday recorded 2,673 new Covid-19 cases, and 30 deaths due to the infection, taking the total number of cases in the state to 2,044,071 and the toll to 51,310, with a case fatality rate of 2.51%.