Due to a vaccine shortage, the Punjab government postponed inoculation for the 18-45 age group on Friday as India begins the third phase of the Covid-19 vaccination drive on Saturday, May 1. All vaccinations at private health facilities will be suspended starting Saturday, according to Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.
According to the chief minister, since all private health facilities must return the balance of unused vaccines to the Government of India by Friday evening, these facilities will have no vaccines to administer to the 45+ population from Friday, while they will be unable to vaccinate the 18-45 age group due to a lack of supplies.
Singh stated that his government was working with the Centre to address the vaccine shortage because the situation was critical. While reviewing the Covid-19 vaccine situation at a virtual conference, he said the state had received two lakh doses, which was insufficient even to fulfill the two-day requirement of the 45+ age group.
The state government is attempting to secure priority supply from the Centre for the 45+ population, as well as strategize Phase III vaccination based on an interim report from an expert group led by Dr. Gagandeep Kang, according to the chief minister.
Officials told the meeting that on April 26, an order for 30 lakh doses of Covishield for the age group of 18-45 years was put with the Serum Institute of India (SII), only to be told that the vaccine’s availability would be known in four weeks.
The SII had also requested that the state government indicate demand for the next three to four months, with advance payments due. The government had been told that supplies would be delivered in stages, every month, according to the statement.
According to data from the state health department, while Mohali, Jalandhar, and Ludhiana performed well in terms of vaccination, Amritsar, Bathinda, and Patiala fell short of their goals. The chief minister has ordered that these three districts increase their efforts.
In Punjab, COVID-19 cases have increased dramatically in recent weeks. According to a medical bulletin, Punjab registered 138 more deaths on Thursday, bringing the total to 8,909, and 6,812 new cases bringing the total infection count to 3,64,910 in the state. The vaccination drive for all adults over the age of 18 in Punjab, which was set to begin on May 1, maybe postponed, state health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said on Thursday, citing a lack of anti-COVID vaccine doses.
“We aren’t having enough (COVID-19) vaccine doses. That is why we are having difficulties. He told the media here, “We have the personnel and the required facilities for vaccination.”
Punjab had previously protested about a vaccine shortage for people aged 45 and up, and had urged the Centre to provide 15 lakh doses per week to the province.