Day 1: 11,492 people in the 18 to 44 age group get jabs across Maharashtra

Maharashtra on Saturday began the third phase of the national vaccination campaign for the 18 to 44 age group by vaccinating 11,492 people with the three lakh doses it had procured from Serum Institute of India (SII) late Friday.

On Saturday evening, several centres opened fresh slots on the CoWin app for Sunday, which were booked within an hour. District officials plan to open more slots for Sunday.

The state government plans to use the remaining 2.89 lakh doses over the next six days and will open up a few thousand slots every day in five centres in each district. Across Maharashtra, 132 vaccination booths administered jabs to the 18 to 44 age group on Saturday.

Dr Archana Patil, Director (Family Welfare) in Directorate of Health Services, said, “We have to sustain these doses for seven days till we get new stock. The government will procure 18 lakh more doses this month.”

Until 6 pm on Saturday, Pune had vaccinated 1,316 people, followed by Mumbai (1,004), Parbhani (846) and Palghar (700). There is, however, some discrepancy in Mumbai’s figures. While according to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, 992 people were administered jabs at its centres, the state government said 1,004 were vaccinated in the city.

Meanwhile, while Nagpur immunised 252 people, Thane vaccinated 611. Least number of vaccinations were administered in Gadchiroli (83) and Yavatmal (90).

After initial glitches in the CoWin software on Friday night, most districts reported a smooth working app on Saturday. In a few centres, however, names of those registered were not visible in the app. Also, in some districts, many people who had booked slots did not turn up for vaccination.

“In the app, while we could see the names of people who had booked slots, their phone numbers were not accessible. We could not call to check why they hadn’t turned up. We suspect those who did not turn up did not receive confirmation messages or were unsure if their slot has been booked,” said Dr Shashikant Shambharkar, District Health officer (DHO) of Gadchiroli.

In Gadchiroli, 250 slots were opened up for the 18 to 44 age group. While all slots were booked by 11 am, only 83 people turned up.

In Nandurbar, slots for 500 people were opened. DHO Dr Nitin Borke said they could create slots only past midnight after CoWin app started working. “By early Saturday, all slots were booked,” he added. But by evening, only 144 people had turned up. Nandurbar has received 7,500 doses from the state supply.

In Beed, 1,000 slots were opened in five centres. Again all slots were booked but only 226 people turned up. DHO Dr Radhakishan Pawar said people turned up on time for their dose and no crowding was noticed. “Only those aged over 45 years were allowed to walk in, people in the 18 to 44 age group had to pre-book their slots,” he added.

Later this month, Maharashtra expects to receive 18 lakh doses from SII and Bharat Biotech for the 18 to 44 age group. From May 1, while vaccines for those above 45 years of age as well as healthcare and frontline workers will be distributed by the Union government, the state will have to buy the stock for the 18 to 44 age group.

On Saturday, the Union government allocated over 2.1 crore Covaxin and Covishield doses to states. Maharashtra received the highest share – 23.27 lakh. Of these, while 17.5 lakh are Covishield shots, 5.76 lakh are Covaxin doses.