July 20, 2021 10:01:14 pm
Punjab has urged Centre to divert the vaccine stocks with the private hospitals to the state-run facilities as “people prefer government hospitals for free inoculation”, a senior official Tuesday said.
During a Covid review meeting chaired by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, Health Secretary Hussan Lal pointed out that doses being supplied to private hospitals are getting wasted as people prefer to get the shots for free at government hospitals. He said state has sought diversion of the stocks from the private hospitals but had not received any response so far from the Centre.
This comes just over a month after the Punjab government, facing criticism from several quarters, withdrew its decision of providing limited vaccine doses to 18-44 age group people through private hospitals and also directed them to return the remaining stock.
The government had sold 42,000 doses of Covaxin — out of the 1.14 lakh it bought on May 27 from Bharat Biotech at Rs 420 per dose — to over 20 private hospitals for Rs 1,060 each. The hospitals had, in turn, charged recipients Rs 1,560 for a dose.
Meanwhile, as Punjab again ran out of Covishield and with a mere 3,500 Covaxin doses left as of Monday, Amarinder Singh Tuesday demanded 40 lakh more vaccine shots from the Centre on an urgent basis.
Amarinder said the state was expecting 2.46 lakh doses to arrive Tuesday.
Punjab has already vaccinated more than 90 lakh people — nearly 37 per cent of the eligible population — and has been utilising the stock without any wastage, the CM said during a review meeting.
The Centre needs to arrange for immediate delivery of vaccines to the state to meet the shortfall and enable inoculation of all those needing the second dose, while continuing with the vaccination of other eligible persons, he said.
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