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All Eyes On Maharashtra

The state government has already received 9.63 lakh doses of the Covishield vaccine and 20,000 doses of the Covaxin vaccine, which have been distributed to all the districts.

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Maharashtra is the most industrialised and consequently among the most developed and most prosperous states in India. Maharashtra is the single largest contributor to the national economy with a share of 15 per cent of India’s GDP. Maharashtra’s gross state domestic product (GSDP) is Rs 28.78 trillion, even though it ranks fifth among Indian states on the Human Development Index. According to the 2011 national census, Maharashtra is home to around 9.3 per cent of India’s total population. 

Cynosure of All Eyes 

Maharashtra is also among the most urbanised states in India and its economy is driven by manufacturing, international trade, aerospace, technology, petroleum, fashion, apparel and tourism. More than 41 per cent of the S&P CNX 500 conglomerates have corporate offices in Maharashtra. The state capital Mumbai, is India’s financial and commercial hub and known as the financial capital of India. Headquarters of almost all major banks, financial institutions, insurance companies and mutual funds are based in the metropolis. India’s largest stock exchange and the oldest in Asia, the Bombay Stock Exchange, is also located in Mumbai. 

Populous Potpourri 

Maharashtra is the second-most populous state in India as well as the thirdlargest state in terms of area. Being an industrialised state, it attracts a considerable crowd of migrant workers from the states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Kerala. Predictably, it quickly became a hot spot of the novel coronavirus. Maharashtra saw its first confirmed coronavirus case on 9 March 2020. The state’s first death linked to the novel coronavirus was reported on 17 March, after a 64-year-old man died at the Kasturba Hospital in Mumbai. By end April 2020, the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra had risen to 9,915, with 597 new cases. The state also reported 32 deaths during one day, of which 26 were from the city of Mumbai. 

The Pandemic 

As on 17 January 2021 Maharashtra had 19,90,759 Covid-19 cases of whom 18,86,469 had recovered, but there were 3,081 new cases as well. Currently 2,25,308 Covid patients are in home quarantine and another 2,045 are in institutional quarantine. A successful vaccination drive therefore, will not only save lives, but also send happy signals to the Indian economy at large. It goes without saying that it will also facilitate the state’s economy to bounce back faster. 

Preparedness 

Maharashtra has identified 285 centres for the vaccine delivery. The state government has already received 9.63 lakh doses of the Covishield vaccine and 20,000 doses of the Covaxin vaccine, which have been distributed to all the districts. On 16 January vaccination sessions began in 34 districts and 27 municipal areas in the state with 17,762 vaccinators and 7.85 lakh healthcare workers registered on the CoWin portal. However, the vaccination drive was put on hold for the following two days reportedly because of some technical glitches in the CoWin app. A dedicated 24x7 call centre - 1075 - has been established to address queries related to the Covid-19 pandemic, vaccine rollout and the CoWIN software. CoWin (Covid Vaccine Intelligence Work) is an online digital platform developed by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, to facilitate real-time information on vaccine stocks, storage temperature and indi vidualised tracking of beneficiaries for the Covid-19 vaccine. The CoWIN platform aims to assist programme managers across all levels in conducting the vaccination sessions. 

The Vaccination Drive

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray described the inoculation drive as a “revolutionary step” and recalled efforts of health and frontline workers during the pandemic. Launching the vaccination drive at the Covid care centre at the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), Thackeray said, “Those days still give me the shivers. The situation was really adverse and grim then. Hospitals were flooded with Covid-19 patients. How to proceed was a big question before everyone and no solution was in sight. Everyone was under pressure because of the situation.” State Health Minister Rajesh Tope said, “In the first phase, we have decided to keep 80 to 100 centres. If we have to immunise 8,00,000 people, it’ll take about 80-90 days. We will carry out the process scientifically.” 

Battle Ready 

The state government has trained 17,749 vaccinators who will administer the dose. The state will set up as many as 3,135 cold storage chains, including one central facility at the state level. “The vaccination centres will be at district hospitals, sub-district hospitals, medical college hospitals and civic hospitals, where tertiary care is available,” Tope said. Giving credence to rhetric, Maharashtra is all set for the battle.