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Maharashtra to prioritise 35-44 age group for COVID-19 vaccination as shortage continues

Rajesh Tope said that the state will begin vaccination for the 18-34 age group after adequate doses are available.

May 08, 2021 / 09:04 AM IST
The vaccination drive has faced roadblocks due to lack of doses (File image: Reuters)

The vaccination drive has faced roadblocks due to lack of doses (File image: Reuters)

Considering the shortage of COVID-19 vaccines, the Maharashtra government is planning to prioritise those in the 35-44 age group with comorbidities.

State Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is expected to take a decision on it.

Read: Can the single dose Sputnik Light COVID-19 jab be a game changer for India?

Owing to limited vaccine doses, Maharashtra is currently inoculating people in the 18-44 age group only at selected centres with priority given to those eligible for the second dose.

"In many places, tech-savvy people from cities take appointments for vaccination in talukas and rural areas. Till we have an abundant supply of vaccines, we will have to make slots as per the age group and comorbidities. If 100 percent from the 18-44 category are allowed to go, there can be crowding. We plan to have an age bracket of 35 to 44, with a preference to people with comorbidities. I will discuss this with the chief minister," Tope said, as quoted by Hindustan Times.


COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Also read: CoWIN will have 4-digit security code from May 8 to reduce data entry errors

He further said that the state will begin vaccination for the 18-34 age group after adequate doses are available.

"The Serum Institute of India had assured us an additional 3,50,000 vaccine doses, but so far it has not come. For the 18-44 age group, we are going slow as per the availability of 779,000 vaccines. As we get more stock, we will ramp it up," Tope added.

Maharashtra is also in contact with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) to procure Sputnik V doses, Tope said.

Separate COVID-19 task force for children

Amid rising cases of COVID-19 infections among children, the Maharashtra

government is setting up a paediatric task force to create infrastructure for their treatment.

"A paediatric task force is being set up to tackle the third wave of COVID-19 where children could also get infected. We will need new designs for isolation or treatment centres because generally, the mother has to stay with the child," Tope said.

Click here for Moneycontro's full coverage of COVID-19 outbreak
Moneycontrol News
first published: May 8, 2021 09:04 am

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