Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 25
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has ordered the state’s health department to order 30 lakh Covishield doses for vaccinating people from 18 to 45 years, with directions to use CM Covid Relief Fund for meeting vaccine requirements of the poor.
The chief minister asked the Department to immediately place an order for the 30 lakh doses with the Serum Institute of India so that the supplies could start coming in at the earliest, even though, as per information provided by the central government, vaccines for that age group is not expected before May 15.
To ensure free vaccination of the poor in government hospitals, Captain Amarinder said in addition to the CM COVID relief fund, CSR funds should also be tapped into. ESIC should be asked to support the vaccination of industrial workers covered in the scheme, and the Board for Welfare of Construction Workers for construction labourers, he added.
Reviewing the vaccination strategy, the chief minister asked an expert group led by Dr Gagandeep Kang to submit a priority list for that age group (vulnerable groups in high risk areas -high transmission, high mortality, etc. including Construction workers and Industrial workers) in its first report by April 29.
He also made it clear that in pursuing the 18-45 age group vaccination strategy, the state government would not compromise on its ongoing vaccination drive for people over 45.
The Chief Minister said the government will consider approaching Astrazeneca (India) directly to allow Punjab government to avail the lower price of Rs 162 per dose available to the global community.
The state has so far received 29,36,770 doses of Covishield (including 3.5 lakh doses meant for AFMS and Central Healthcare Workers) and 3.34 lakh doses of Covaxin. Out of the available stock of vaccine till April 22, 25.48 lakh doses of Covishield and 2.64 lakh doses of Covaxin had been utilized, leaving the state with only 2.81 lakh doses of Covishield and 27,400 doses of Covaxin in its stock. The Health Department had on April 22 written to the Union Health Ministry seeking additional supply of 10 lakh doses of Covishield, to be made available on priority to enable the state to meet its immediate requirement.