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On account of the exceedingly long gap between two Covishield vaccine shots, Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope has said that a ‘safe’ status on the Aarogya Setu app might be considered a permit for individuals with a single dose to participate in all activities in the opened-up sectors post Diwali.
Deliberating on the issue, the health minister noted that if cases in the state continue to remain low post the festive season, the officials and task force members might examine the possibility of using the status on one’s Aarogya Setu app as a permit for individuals to avail opened-up sectors.
Tope said that he had approached the Centre requesting them to reduce the gap between the two doses of Covishield, but the central government authorities ruled it out. Shedding light for this refusal, a senior official of the Union health ministry told TOI that the request for shortening the gap between covid jabs was denied because scientific studies showed its higher efficacy with a longer interval. Another official noted that a change in the time interval will only be brought about based on scientific evidence and not on the demands of the people.
Besides Maharashtra, some other states had also approached the Centre to reduce the gap. The current gap between the two doses of Covishield stands at 84 days.
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government last week issued guidelines to allow the reopening of cinema halls, drama theatres, and auditoriums from October 22. It however gave the option of showing “safe status” on Aarogya Setu or vaccination certificate as a permit for entering the facility.
Double vaccination was made mandatory for staff, including ushers, cleaners, and those employed at food courts within the premises of these halls, as well as artists and actors engaging in live performances, the Indian Express noted.
“Aarogya Setu App showing safe status shall be mandatory for all visitors or as an alternative, visitors can show final Covid Vaccination Certificate,” stated the standard operating procedure (SOP) issued by the state.
The SOP further said that since the entry in the malls is restricted to only fully vaccinated citizens and children below 18 years of age, the cinema-goers can produce a ticket to enter the malls where multiplexes are situated.
As per reports, till October 15, the state had administered 9.07 crore doses. Of these, a total of 6.29 crore (70%) were given to first-dose beneficiaries. As many as 2.78 crores (30%) people have been completely vaccinated in Maharashtra.