Rajesh Tope, Maharashtra Health Minister, on Wednesday said that people under 18 years of age, pregnant women and those with allergies will not be administered the ‘Covishield’ vaccine as per the Centre’s protocols.

“We have decided to give the full two-doses to the selected persons, the first dose now and the second after 4-6 weeks. However, those below 18 years, pregnant women or people with allergies shall not be administered the vaccine,” said Tope while addressing the media.

So far, Maharashtra has received 963,000 doses of the expected 17,50,000 doses from the manufacturers’ Serum Institute of India (SII), Pune which is around 55 per cent of the state government’s quota, he informed.

These doses are being dispatched all over the state, including the main depots in Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Kolhapur, Nashik, Akola, Nagpur and other places for onward distribution to the 511 designated vaccination centres since Tuesday night.

Of these 511 centres, the maximum – 129 – have been allotted to the thickly-populated Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), which has recorded a staggering 19,274 Covid-19 fatalities and 677,220 cases in the past 10 months till date.

BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner IS Chahal said that the first lot of the ‘Covishield’ vaccine reached Mumbai early on Wednesday morning.

“The vaccine was brought from Pune to Mumbai by a special vehicle of the BMC with health officials and police security. The stock has already reached the BMC F/South Divisional Office in Parel,” Chahal told IANS.

“It will be possible for us to start the vaccination in Mumbai on January 16, coinciding with the national launch of vaccination drive,” Chahal added.

Oxford Institute vaccine Covishield which is being developed by Pune based Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin have been approved by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for emergency use for immunisation against Covid-19.

Covishield was recommended for emergency use on January 1 and Covaxin was recommended for restricted use on January 2. Both the vaccines have to be administered in two doses and to be stored at temperatures between 2 and 8-degree Celsius.

(With agency inputs)