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Coronavirus vaccine: On first day, 1,000 people in 18-44 group inoculated in Mumbai

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Mumbai, May 01: The vaccination drive for the people in the age group of 18 to 44 years took off in Mumbai with limited access even as the city civic body stressed to have achieved the set target of inoculating 1,000 people on the first day on Saturday.

COVID Vaccine

A senior Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) official said the civic body has decided to increase the target of inoculating the individuals in the 18-44 age group to 2,500 on Sunday.

"We have decided to vaccinate 200 people from the 18-44 age category today at each of all the five centres and we have fully achieved this target. Each centre was supposed to vaccinate 200 people," Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani told reporters.

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The BMC has identified five centres for COVID-19 vaccination for the age group 18-44 at Nair Hospital, BKC Jumbo Facility, Cooper Hospital, Seven Hills Hospital and Rajawadi Hospital. The vaccination for the above age group was allowed only through prior registration and walk-ins at the centres are not allowed to avoid crowding.

Kakani said the BMC has decided to increase the target to inoculate 500 individuals in the 18-44 age group at each centre on Sunday. "It means we will vaccinate 2,500 people from this category tomorrow (Sunday)," he said.

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Kakani said a separate drive for the above-45 age group will continue depending upon the supply of vaccines from the Centre. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday said the vaccine doses for the 18-44 age group will be administered as per availability and people should not crowd vaccination centres.

Vaccination for the citizens in the age group of 18 to 44 against COVID-19 is free at government hospitals, but citizens will have to pay for the jabs at private facilities. Mumbai's COVID-19 caseload stood at 6,48,624 as of April 30 while the overall fatality count is 13,161, as per the civic data.

Meanwhile, despite the appeal by the CM not to flock vaccination centres, a vaccination centre in suburban Andheri saw a huge crowd of people earlier in the day. "Many people came for vaccination without prior appointments at the Andheri centre which affected the overall procedure. As per new instructions, only those people having a prior appointment are allowed to be inoculated," a BMC official said.

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He said people in general are excited about getting jabs even as the shortage of doses is causing panic due to the surge in COVID-19 infections as well as fatalities.

"(In earlier phases) when people were hesitant to get themselves vaccinated and adequate supply of vaccines was available, we had decided to vaccinate every eligible person visiting the centre. We had even administered vaccine doses to those people who did not register themselves on Co-WIN application," the official recalled.

However, with a growing demand for vaccines by other states, the supply to Maharashtra is restricted, the official added. Mayor Kishori Pednekar has also appealed to the citizens not to crowd at vaccination centres, saying social distancing norms must be followed.

Municipal Commissioner IS Chahal had said on Friday that the COVID-19 test positivity rate in Mumbai dropped below 10 per cent to 9.94 per cent as of April 29 despite conducting nearly 44,000 tests.

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