The Maharashtra government on Wednesday announced free vaccination against COVID-19 for free to all its citizens in the age group of 18 to 44 years, said the state chief ministers office. The decision was taken decision was taken at the cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai. Taking to Twitter, the CMO’s office said, “Today, the Cabinet under the leadership of CM Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray has decided to provide free COVID-19 vaccination to all the citizens of Maharashtra aged between 18-44 years.”Also Read - Want to Settle Abroad? Show Indian Passport And Take Citizenship of These 5 Beautiful Countries | Watch Video

Thackeray said that the citizens shall be informed of the mega-vaccination drive to be undertaken from May 1, depending on the supply of doses available from various sources, including imports if necessary. Also Read - Malaika Arora-Arjun Kapoor Planning Wedding This November? Here Are Inside Details

“Despite the financial crises confronting the state, the health of the people is of utmost priority for us which is why the state government has decided to provide free vaccinations to all between 18-44 age group,” Thackeray added. CM Thackeray also appealed to people to first get their names registered on the Vaccination App and not rush to the vaccination centres. Also Read - World Boxing Championship: Nikhat Zareen Enters Final, Secures At Least Silver Medal

Soon after the announcement, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that the move will put a burden of Rs 6,500 crore on the state’s coffers. Maharashtra has so far inoculated over 1.53 crore beneficiaries including over 3.88 lakh people on Tuesday, officials said.

Earlier today, Tope said that the lockdown in Maharashtra will be extended by another 15 days beyond April 30 due to the continuing rise in COVID-19 cases. He said all members of the cabinet, who participated in a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, pitched for such extension.  “It (the lockdown) will be extended by 15 days,” Tope said.