Mumbai: Citing lack of adequate doses, Mumbai, which is reeling under a deadly second wave of COVID-19, has shut its vaccination drive for three days. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has stated that the existing stock of doses has been exhausted, following which the vaccination drive for the 18-44 age group, which was supposed to start from May 1 earlier, was likely to be deferred too. Currently those above 45 years of age are being inoculated.Also Read - Maharashtra Govt Extends Lockdown-Like COVID-19 Restrictions Till May 15

“The BMC will not hold any vaccination camp on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday because existing stock has been exhausted. With this, the civic body is likely to postpone its vaccination drive for 18-44 age category beyond May 1. If fresh supplies were received, vaccination will resume, it added”, the statement released by the civic body read.

The corporation also stressed that those in the above-45 category should not fear that they will not be inoculated once the drive for the 18-44 age group begins. “Both are different programmes, and whenever vaccine doses are available, the priority will be for the above-45 age category,” the civic body said.

It also clarified that those who have received the first jab of vaccine should not worry if there is a longer hiatus before they get the second dose. “If there is a longer gap, the body develops some anti-bodies against COVID-19,” the statement said.

‘Capacity to inoculate eight lakh people daily’

Speaking to reporters, Maharashtra minister Rajesh Tope said that unless the state gets vials between 25 lakh and 30 lakh, they will not commence vaccination drive for the 18-44 age group.

He asserted that the state has the capacity to inoculate eight lakh people daily if adequate vaccines are provided. “Maharashtra’s wastage of COVID-19 vaccine is as low as 1 per cent. This is due to the careful management of distributors and our staff on the ground. We will be giving out vaccines mainly to government hospitals from May 1 for inoculation of people in the above 45 age category”, he told reporters.

Low vaccine stocks in the several states

Apart from Maharashtra, several other states like Punjab, Tamil Nadu and national capital Delhi, have flagged the issue of low vaccine stocks. For the uninitiated, the nationwide vaccination for people in the 18-44 age group is scheduled to start from May 1 and registration for the same is open on the CoWin app.

(With agency inputs)