India’s Maharashtra State Says Can Procure Covishield Doses After May 20
A hospital Staff member holds a vial of Covishield vaccine at the BLK Kapoor Super Specialty Hospital in New Delhi. (Photographer: T. Narayan/Bloomberg)

India’s Maharashtra State Says Can Procure Covishield Doses After May 20

Maharashtra can procure the coronavirus vaccine produced by Serum Institute of India Ltd. only after May 20, which could slow plans at India’s most industrialized state to vaccinate all adults and curb a ferocious new wave of infections.

“The state chief minister spoke with Serum a few days ago on phone. Serum has informed that till May 20 their production capacity is booked for Government of India, so they will be able to provide doses only after that date,” Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope told reporters Tuesday.

Slammed by a record surge in new cases and deaths, Prime Minister Narendra Modi eased India’s rules to allow states to directly buy the vaccines from manufacturers and inoculate residents above 18 years from May 1. Until then, states are allotted doses by the federal government.

Maharashtra houses India’s financial hub Mumbai and accounts for almost 15% of national output. It estimates it needs 120 million doses to inoculate residents in the age group of 18-44, which could cost more than 75 billion rupees ($1 billion) if offered free to all, Tope said. He added that the state cabinet will decide on pricing.

The eastern state of Jharkhand has also been told by both Serum and Bharat Biotech that it can expect vaccine supplies only by June, according to government officials who asked not to be named because they weren’t authorized to speak to reporters. Both companies have said they have commitments to the federal government before it can start selling to the states, the people said.

A spokesman for Jharkhand’s government couldn’t immediately comment.

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