The vaccination drive in Mumbai has faced roadblocks due to lack of doses (File image: Reuters)
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the civic body of Mumbai, has been asked to explore the "possibilities of global procurement" of COVID-19 vaccines for the city, Maharashtra Cabinet Minister Aaditya Thackeray said on May 10.
The import of vaccines from abroad is expected to address the shortfall of doses which Mumbai has been reporting since the past month. The available stock was further stressed after the vaccination drive was thrown open for all citizens aged above 18.
"Looking at the need for adequate vaccines to ensure that vaccination is swift & efficient, after discussing the issue with CM Uddhav Thackeray ji, as guardian minister of Mumbai, we have asked BMC to explore possibilities of global procurement of vaccines (sic)," Aaditya Thackeray tweeted.
Mumbai, India's financial capital, has emerged as a hotspot in both waves of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. With experts raising an alarm over a possible third wave, the civic authority began planning the import of vaccines in a bid to avert the next round of crisis.
BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal, while speaking to Bloomberg on May 10, said the civic body was discussing with the Maharashtra government that whether it should float separate tenders for purchase of vaccines from global manufacturers.
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"The state government tender might be very huge, like 40 million, and no foreign supplier can match that kind of number, but if I just float 5 million vaccines, bids may come up from two-three companies," Chahal was quoted as saying.
Mumbai, along with other parts of India, is currently administering Covishield and Covaxin - the two domestically-manufactured vaccines - on the eligible beneficiaries.
The city, which had last month reached a peak of over 11,000 daily cases, has significantly controlled the crisis.
As per the update issued on May 10, the city reported 1,794 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, whereas, the number of recoveries was nearly double at 3,580. The active caseload has declined to 45,534.
The vaccination drive would be further ramped up in the city to tide over the health crisis, Aaditya Thackeray suggested.
"Our efforts to increase vaccination centres are constantly on going and the @mybmc shall be having a centre in every municipal ward, along with a drive in vaccination centre across all zones of Mumbai (sic)," he tweeted.
"I request all other cities in Maharashtra to also have the drive in vaccination for citizens above the age of 65 for their ease and comfort," he further said.
Thackeray also claimed that the government is working on a method to "ensure that the non tech savvy citizens and those who can’t operate the CoWin app with ease" can also be vaccinated.