May 18, 2021 10:54:49 am
AT A time when the state is already grappling with an acute Covid vaccine shortage, the Centre has further slashed Punjab’s allocation of free vaccine doses by nearly half for beneficiaries aged 45+ for the second fortnight of May (16-31).
For May 16 to 31, the state will be receiving only 3.81 lakh free doses from the Centre — including 2,42,470 doses of Covishield and 1,38,980 of Covaxin.
For the first fortnight of May (1-15), Punjab was allocated 6.16 lakh doses. The allocation for May’s second fortnight is nearly half of what was allotted for the first fortnight by the Centre, said Hussan Lal, principal secretary, health, Punjab.
For the first fortnight of May too, when Punjab was allocated 6.16 lakh doses, the state received 75,000 doses of Covaxin only against the initial committed allocation of 1.52 lakh by the Centre.
As per the Centre’s new ‘Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy’ that came into effect from May 1, the Centre will be supplying free vaccines to states for three categories of beneficiaries — healthcare workers, frontline workers and 45+ population. For 18-44 age group, state governments and private hospitals have to buy vaccines from manufacturers.
The Centre will be alerting the states 15 days in advance about the number of doses it will be supplying free of cost (fortnightly allocation), as per the new policy.
After the stocks ran dry in Punjab over the past 3-4 days, vaccination for 45+ population remained suspended in most of the government vaccination centers as no fresh stock was received till Monday. A meagre 2,736 first doses and 1,134 second doses were given to 45+ beneficiaries Monday.
Dr Rajesh Bhaskar, nodal officer, Covid-19, Punjab, said that fresh stock of 75,000 Covishield doses was expected to arrive from Centre for 45+ on Tuesday and only then the vaccination for 45+ will resume in all government centers. “There were hardly any doses today for healthcare, frontline workers and 45+ beneficiaries today. 75,000 doses are expected to arrive today from Centre,” said Dr Bhaskar.
For 18-44 age group, Punjab will be receiving 96,280 doses of Covishield and 1.14 lakh doses of Covaxin, as per the delivery schedule received by the state.
Punjab has ordered 30 lakh doses of Covishield from Serum Institute of India (SII) for 18-44 age group of which 3 lakh doses have been delivered till now and 96,280 more doses are expected to be delivered by May 24.
In addition, state will also be receiving 1.14 lakh doses of Covaxin from Bharat Biotech by May 26. “Covaxin doses ordered by the state will mostly be used to vaccinate industrial workforce as the industry giants will be paying for them, but we are yet to work out the details of it,” said Hussan Lal.’
Vaccine doses to be received by Punjab in next 15 days (May 16- 31)
For 45+ population (free supply from Government of India)
For 18-44 population (Direct procurement by State)
Total — 2,60,470
(50,000 Covishield doses received already on May 16)
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