MUMBAI: Maharashtra public health minister Rajesh Tope on Thursday said the Centre has agreed to bear the cost of coronavirus vaccination in the first phase where some eight lakh health workers in the state will get the jab. “I had a video conference with union public health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan where I demanded that the Centre bear the cost of vaccination including operational expenses,” Tope said in a video message. Vardhan assured that the Centre will foot the bill for the vaccination in the first phase but did not say anthing specific about later phases, Tope said. “We are going to set up vaccination centres at state and civic-run hospitals. If we could set up 100 such centres with each catering to 100 persons, we can cover the entire health staff in 70 to 80 days,” the minister said. Refusing to get into the controversy surrounding the Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin which has got approval before it divulged third phase trial data, Tope said, “As a state, we will not comment on the issue. “However, I have requested the Centre to allocate one company to one state as it will be helpful in terms of coordinating the supply and its distribution,” he said.


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