Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday termed the launch of the COVID-19 vaccination drive a “revolutionary step” and recalled the efforts of frontline workers who selflessly treated patients amid the pandemic.
Mr. Thackeray said the Centre had certified the vaccines and there was no need to doubt their efficacy. “We are following the Centre’s guidelines on the vaccination drive. The Centre is supplying the vaccine after securing the clearance from competent authorities. There should be no doubt over the safety of these vaccines,” he said while inaugurating the State-wide drive at the COVID-19 Care Centre at Bandra Kurla Complex. Dietitian Dr. Madhura Patil was the first recipient of the vaccine at the centre.
Asked when he would take the vaccine, Mr. Thackeray said frontline workers would be given priority. “We will do exactly what the Centre has instructed us to do,” the Chief Minister said.
On the first day, when last reports came in, 1,926 people had received the vaccine, with the number likely to rise to 4,000. Of the 10 vaccine centres in Mumbai, nine are run by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and one by the State government. The BMC has secured 1.39 lakh doses of Covishield from the Serum Institute of India.
Mr. Thackeray said the BKC centre now has no patients owing to the tireless efforts of healthcare workers. “Those early days still give me shivers. The situation was adverse. Hospitals were flooded with patients. How to proceed was a big question and no solution was in sight. Everyone was under pressure,” he said.
“Wearing a face mask is the best vaccine available,” the Chief Minister said, appealing to people not to let down their guard though vaccines are now accessible. People must wear masks in public places even after receiving the vaccine, he said.
With COVID-19 cases resurfacing in some countries, we may face a similar situation, he said. “To avoid this, the protocol of wearing a mask, maintaining physical distancing, and washing hands frequently has to be followed strictly,” he said.
BMC halts vaccination for two days
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Saturday said the vaccination drive in the city would be halted on Sunday and Monday due to a snag in the CoWIN application, which is being used by people to register for the vaccine. In a statement, the civic administration said registration on the online digital platform, developed by the Union Health Ministry, is mandatory for vaccination.
The BMC said, “Technical glitches were observed in the CoWIN app following which offline registration was allowed today. However, the government has made digital registration mandatory. Therefore, vaccination will be suspended on Sunday and Monday till the glitches are rectified.”
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