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Thursday, June 24, 2021

Now, Punjab drops PM’s photo from Covid vaccine certificates

A functionary of the government said that they have not removed PM’s picture, but have not added it to the certificate being issued from the COVA App.

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh |
Updated: May 26, 2021 11:20:54 am
While Punjab has cited a “technical issue” for not using PM’s picture on the vaccination certificate, other states have stated that since the inititiative of vaccinating this category was taken by the state governments. (Express photo by Jasbir Malhi)

After Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, Punjab is the latest state government to do away with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s picture from the digital Covid-19 vaccination certificate for the 18-44 age group.

In Punjab, construction workers, people with co-morbidities and family members of frontline healthcare workers have been prioritised to get vaccines in the 18-44 age group. Those vaccinated have been getting certificates from Punjab’s COVA App instead of Centre’s CoWin App. These are the certificates that do not have Modi’s picture.

A functionary of the government said that they have not removed PM’s picture, but have not added it to the certificate being issued from the COVA App.

He further argued that if Punjab’s certificate does not have Modi’s picture, it does not have Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s picture either, unlike Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, where certificates have pictures of their respective CMs.

The government official said: “We are giving a provisional certificate that does not have any picture. We need to give a provisional certificate because the Centre was not able to add our priority category on their CoWin app. We have our own priority categories after a decision on naming these categories was taken by an expert group. We have construction workers, people with co-morbidities and the family members of frontline workers, who have been chosen as priority categories.”

He added: “We took up the issue with the Centre stating that they should allow these categories as priority on CoWin app. We were told that this was not possible due to technical reasons. They told us they only have frontline workers or the 18-44 category. This could not serve our purpose. This meant that these people who get vaccinated by the state would not get a certificate as the Centre’s app would not allow that. So, these people had to be given a provisional certificate. After all, they will need a certificate. It is just a provisional certificate and there is no picture on it.”

While Punjab has cited a “technical issue” for not using PM’s picture on the vaccination certificate, other states have stated that since the inititiative of vaccinating this category was taken by the state governments. Punjab has set aside Rs 1,000 crore for vaccination the 18-44 years category.

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