Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawalla has assured Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray of "maximum support" in scaling up vaccinations in Covid-hit Maharashtra, the Chief Minister's Office or CMO tweeted on Saturday. The industrialist's Pune-based company manufactures Covishield, one of the three anti-coronavirus vaccines approved for use in India.
"CM Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray has been assured of maximum support by Mr Adar Poonawalla and the Serum Institute of India to ensure maximum vaccination at the earliest in the State of Maharashtra," the CMO tweeted.
"We are proud to have a world-class institution like Serum Institute of India in our state and we look forward to a strategic partnership for the safety of our citizens from COVID-19," it added.
CM Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray has been assured of maximum support by Mr. @adarpoonawalla and the Serum Institute of India to ensure maximum vaccination at the earliest in the State of Maharashtra.— CMO Maharashtra (@CMOMaharashtra) April 24, 2021
Maharashtra has been consistently reporting over 60,000 daily coronavirus cases as the rapid second wave of infections rips through India.
Maharashtra remains the worst-affected state in the country, with nearly seven lakh active cases. On Saturday, the state reported 67,160 new cases in 24 hours - a marginal increase from the 66,836 detected on Friday.
Experts recommend rapid vaccinations to avoid a third wave in the country.
The centre has asked states to ramp up the vaccination drive. It has also opened vaccinations to all adults in the third phase of the drive starting May 1.
However, several states, including Maharashtra, have complained about a shortage of vaccines.
Earlier this month, several vaccination centres in Maharashtra had to be closed because of lack of vaccines.
Maharashtra's vaccine SOS had triggered a strongly worded exchange between the centre and the state government. The "lackadaisical attitude" of the Maharashtra government had singularly bogged down the entire country's efforts to fight the virus, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had said in a statement.
Serum Institute has announced it will sell its vaccine at Rs 400 per dose to states and Rs 600 to private hospitals from May 1. Bharat Biotech's Covaxin will cost Rs 600 per dose to states and Rs 1,200 to private hospitals. Sputnik V, which will be available from May-June this year, will be sold at Rs 700 per dose.