New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Maharashtra Cabinet on Wednesday decided to inoculate all adults between 18 years and 44 years of age in the state for free at state vaccination centres, however, the people opting for private vaccination centres will have to pay for the jabs. The announcement was made by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's office today. 

"Today, the cabinet under the leadership of CM Uddhav Thackeray has decided to provide free #COVID19 vaccination to all the citizens of Maharashtra aged between 18-44 years at state vaccination centres.  Citizens will have to pay for vaccines at private facilities", CMO Maharashtra said in a statement. 

This comes amid a controversy over the pricing of the vaccine for the third phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive which will commence on May 1 and will target all adults above 18 years of age across the country.  

The decision was taken at the cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. The move will put a burden of Rs 6,500 crore on the state's coffers, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said. With this, Maharashtra joined the long list of states that will provide free COVID-19 vaccines to its citizens during the third phase of India's COVID-19 vaccination drive.

States like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Goa, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh have already announced that they will provide free vaccine doses to their citizens aged above 18 years from May 1.  

This comes on the day when scores of people were left disappointed, as several vaccination facilities in Mumbai, including those operated by the civic body, state government, and private entities, remained non-functional on Wednesday due to the unavailability of anti-COVID-19 vaccines.

As per a list tweeted by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), only 75 of the total 135 vaccination centres functioned on Wednesday. The 75 centres which remained functional included 32 private centres, as many civic ones and 11 government-run centres.

Of the total 135 centres in Mumbai, 75 are run by private facilities, 42 by the civic body and 17 by the state government. The BMC has also suspended the operations at the Bandra Kurla Complex-based jumbo centre, one of the prominent facilities from where it had kickstarted the immunisation drive on January 16.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan