May 14, 2021 12:37:45 am
The free Covid vaccination for 18-44 age group at government hospitals/centres in Punjab would begin from Friday (May 14) for the families of healthcare workers (employed in government and private sectors) and for the persons suffering from comorbidities.
After the vaccination for 18-44 (phase-3) was launched nationally on May 1, Punjab could not begin free vaccination in government hospitals because of shortage of doses. Till then just a few private hospitals in Punjab had started paid vaccination for this group. However, after receiving 1 lakh Covishield doses from the Serum Institute of India (SII), Punjab started vaccinating construction workers from this age group on May 10. Till Thursday, just 14,118 persons had received their first dose.
Directing judicious use of the limited available stocks of vaccine, the Chief Minister also directed the Health Department to initiate the process of vaccinating co-morbid persons in this age group amid the surging cases of Covid in the state, where the positivity rate for the week stood at 14.2%, with Case Fatality Rate (CFR) of 2.1%.
The CM also asked the Health Department to kickstart the vaccination programme for these priority groups from other buildings rather than government hospitals to prevent further spread of the virus due to crowding.
Briefing the cabinet, Dr Gagandeep Kang, a special invitee to the Expert Group, said with preliminary data showing vaccines working better against the coronavirus than expected, including against the mutant B.1.617 variety, a targeted response to the vaccination programme was needed. She suggested more extensive use of Covishield, given its affordability and availability, and the fact that it offers high efficacy even with a single dose, while the second dose can be extended up to 12 weeks. Dr Kang suggested that the Government of India should be requested to include obesity in the list of comorbidities for vaccination priority.
Punjab health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said that for this campaign, 157 Covid Vaccination Centres have been set up across the state.
Sidhu said that the persons aged 18-44 years having one or multiple specified co-morbidities from the list of 22 co-morbid conditions will be vaccinated. Anyone suffering from these specific co-morbidities can visit the nearest vaccination centre with valid ID proof and a valid prescription/certificate from the doctor. Besides this, family members of healthcare workers can also visit these centres to get themselves vaccinated.
Health Minister said that 18-44 years age group vaccination has been launched in a phased manner and vulnerable and high-risk population groups are being covered first.
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