Free vaccine for 18-plus in govt hospitals in Punjab: Amarinder

Free vaccine for 18-plus in govt hospitals in Punjab: Amarinder

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22

Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh today announced that for the inoculation of the age group of 18-45 (from May 1), vaccines would be supplied free of cost in all government healthcare facilities in the state.

In view of the limited supplies of the vaccine expected initially, the CM constituted an expert group, comprising eminent virologist Dr Gagandeep Kang; Dr Jacob John, Professor of Community Health at CMC, Vellore; and Dr Rajesh Kumar, former Head, School of Public Health, PGI, Chandigarh, to suggest a strategy of prioritisation.

Chairing a high-level meeting to review the Covid-19 situation, Captain Amarinder tasked the expert group to chalk out a vaccination strategy and submit a plan to the state government in a week.

Dr Kang, who attended the meeting as a special invitee, emphasised the need for a proper strategy to combat the second Covid wave, with geographical saturation in high caseload cities such as Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Mohali and Patiala, besides prioritisation on the basis of medical need and occupational groups.

The CM was informed that the state had received four lakh more doses of Covishield vaccine from the Centre today. As these were likely to last for only three or four more days as per the pace of the ongoing vaccination drive, he asked the Health Department to pursue with the Centre the matter of supply of more vaccines.

Referring to the reports of black marketing of anti-viral drugs like Remdesivir and Tocilizumab in the country, the CM said the experts had given clear protocols on the use of such medicines, which must be duly publicised and followed. Health Adviser Dr KK Talwar referred to the WHO studies that have shown that Remdesivir might not have any significant impact on the mortality due to Covid.

Meanwhile, Captain Amarinder expressed concern at the reports of shortage of beds for Covid patients in various parts of the country. However, he said the current situation was comparatively better in Punjab. He directed the 104 helpline to provide 24x7 real-time information regarding the availability of Covid beds in the hospitals.

Ordering a crackdown on oxygen hoarding, he said no trader or manufacturer would be allowed to indulge in illegal hoarding.

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