A protest over shortage of oxygen cylinders, against the Congress government in Punjab and BJP government at Centre, in Amritsar
Chandigarh: Faced by a shortage of Covid vaccines, Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Friday deferred Phase III of vaccination for the 18-45 age group, which was slated to begin on May 1. He also disclosed that vaccination at private health facilities will remain suspended from Saturday. Amarinder on Friday announced that due to non-availability of vaccine, Phase III of vaccination of the 18-45 age group cannot be started as scheduled.
He said as the balance of unutilised vaccines had to be returned to the Centre by all private health facilities by Friday evening, these facilities would have no vaccines to administer from Saturday for 45+ population, while they could not vaccinate 18-45 age group as they had no supplies for the same, said Amarinder.
Amarinder said his government was pursuing the matter of vaccine shortage with the Centre, as the situation was critical. The state had received 2 lakh doses, but that was not sufficient even to meet the two-day requirement of the 45+ age group, said Amarinder, while reviewing the Covid vaccine situation at a virtual meeting.
The state government was trying to secure supply for 45+ population from the Centre on priority and also trying to strategise Phase III vaccination on the basis of Dr Gagandeep Kang expert group’s interim report, said Amarinder.
It was informed that an order for procurement of 30 lakh doses of Covishield for the 18-45 age group was placed with Serum Institute of India on April 26, but the response received was that availability of vaccine would be known only in four weeks. SII had asked the state government to indicate demand for the next 3-4 months, with advance payments to be made. They had informed the government that supplies would be delivered in a phased manner, every month.
As per the health department data, of the six worst-hit districts, Mohali, Jalandhar and Ludhiana were doing well in terms of vaccination, while Amritsar, Bathinda, Patiala were running short of targets.