Maharashtra will start a special Covid-19 vaccination drive for those in the 30 to 45 age group from Saturday, PTI reported.

“The Centre has allowed the state to determine priority for the citizens between 18 to 45 years of age for vaccination,” Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope told the Hindustan Times. “Following this, the state health department has decided to give priority to the beneficiaries in the 30 to 45 years of age group.”

Tope added that the vaccination drive will be held at government-run centres. Beneficiaries can register for vaccinations online or on the spot, he said.

An unidentified official from the Maharashtra health department told PTI that beneficiaries in the 30 to 45 age group were a huge part of the working population, and vaccinating them would help ease restrictions on business activities.

The health workers involved in the vaccination drive have been trained to make necessary changes on the CoWin portal, the Hindustan Times reported. Presently, the platform allows users to choose only two age groups – 45 years and above, and 18-45.

Archana Patil, the head of Maharashtra’s Directorate Of Health Services, said that since the beginning of the vaccination drive for the 18-45 age group on May 1, the state has covered most beneficiaries eligible for their second dose.

“After having sufficient stock, we have decided to start the drive for the beneficiaries from the 30-45 age group,” she added, according to the Hindustan Times.

Maharashtra reported 9,798 new coronavirus cases and 198 deaths on Friday.

Even though the number of daily cases has reduced, experts have warned that a third wave of infections could the state soon if Covid-appropriate behaviour is not followed.

The state government is cautiously easing restrictions based on a five-level unlock plan, which was unveiled on June 5. Districts were divided into levels based on the positivity rate and occupancy of oxygen beds.