Centre should give free Covid-19 vaccine to poor: Maharashtra minister

The Centre should ensure that poor people in Maharashtra get Covid-19 vaccine free of cost, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Saturday.

When asked whether the Maharashtra government would provide free vaccine to the poor if the Centre fails to do so, the health minister said, “We won’t leave the poor in the lurch”.

“I heard that Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has declared that the governmentwould give Covid-19 vaccine free of cost to health workers and frontline workers. I would request him to give the vaccine free to poor people too in Maharashtra,” Tope said.

Tope was in Jalna, his home district, to review the ongoing Covid-19 vaccination dry run.

The mock drill was conducted in four districts, including Jalna, in Maharashtra during the day.

Earlier in the day, Harsh Vardhan sain in Delhi that free vaccine would be provided in the first phase of inoculation to the most prioritised beneficiaries, including one crore healthcare and two crore frontline workers.

“Though the Central government has stopped providing aid to the Maharashtra government since September last year, we won’t fall short in providing health facilities to the people in the state. The government is financially sound,” he added.

In Jalna, the dry run was conducted at the district civil hospital in the city, and at the government hospital at Ambad and the primary health centre at Shelgaon, said district civil surgeon Archana Bhosale.

“We had enrolled 25 beneficiaries for each centre for the mock drill. As per procedure, SMSes were sent to them. No actual vaccine was administered, but we conducted the mock drill as per the guidelines.

“We arranged a waiting room, a vaccination room and a monitoring room at each health centre, as required under the guidelines,” Bhosale told reporters.

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