Punjab again falls short of vaccine, dials centre to cover all in 2 months

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.

With the state running out of Covishield vaccines today and a Covaxin stock of just 112821 doses, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has reiterated the demand for supply of more vaccines by the Centre to vaccinate the entire 18-45 population to complete the vaccination of all eligible persons in the next two months.

Even as he ordered opening of the vaccination to the entire population in 18-45 age group, subject to availability, the Chief Minister said the efforts would remain focused on covering the categories prioritised earlier. His government had set a target to immunise all eligible in two months, followed by the second vaccine dose as per schedule, he added. Currently, 4.8% of Punjab’s eligible population is fully vaccinated, with Mohali leading the chart in both one and two doses.

Taking stock of the vaccination progress and status in Punjab at a Covid review virtual meeting, the Chief Minister noted that the state government had already vaccinated more than 62 lakh eligible persons and had been utilising the stock without any wastage. However, he noted, that there is a gross shortage of vaccines, with no stock of Covishield in the state as of today, and only a small stock of Covaxin available.

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Pointing out that the state had been repeatedly taking up the issue of inadequate doses with Government of India, Captain Amarinder said this has assumed critical importance as Punjab has slowly been opening up sectors conditional to stakeholders having taken at least one dose. He said he will take up the matter again with the Union Health Minister on urgent basis, and escalate it to the Prime Minister if needed.

Health Minister Balbir Sidhu questioned the larger number of doses received from the Centre by BJP-ruled states like Haryana and Gujarat.

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Citing a Punjab Police study showing 98% protection among police personnel after two doses of vaccination, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday asked the Health and Medical Education departments to continue monitoring the vaccine efficacy in the light of the new variants of concern. So far, around 79000 Punjab Police personnel had been vaccinated, of which 57% had received the second dose. The study, conducted by Dr Rajesh Kumar, between February 3 to June 28, showed that of the total deaths in this period, 15 were of those not vaccinated at all, nine of those who had received one dose, and only two who were fully vaccinated, disclosed DGP Dinkar Gupta.