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Vax ‘shortage’ forces Punjab to defer Phase III of drive from May 1

Injection. Stock Image/Pixabay

Chandigarh, Apr 30 (MNN) Faced with ‘shortage’ of coronavirus vaccines, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday deferred the Phase III of vaccination drive from May 1 for the 18-45 age group.

He said that as unutilised vaccines had to be returned to the government of India by all private health facilities by Friday evening, these facilities would have no vaccines to administer from Saturday to those aged above 45, while they could not vaccinate those in 18-45 age group as there were no supplies for the same.

The Chief Minister said that his government was pursuing the matter of vaccine shortage with the Centre, as the situation was “critical”.

The state had received two lakh doses but this was not sufficient even to meet its requirement for two days for the 45 plus age group, Amarinder Singh said, while reviewing a Covid vaccine situation at a virtual meeting.

The state was trying to secure supply for 45 plus  population from the Centre on priority, and also trying to strategise the Phase III vaccination on the basis of Dr Gagandeep Kang-led expert group’s interim report, he added.

The meeting was told that an order for the procurement of 30 lakh doses of Covishield for 18-45 age group was placed with the Serum Institute of India at Pune on April 26, but it had said that the availability of vaccine would be known only in 4 weeks.

Further, the SII had allegedly asked the state government to indicate the demand for the next 3-4 months, with advance payments.

The SII had informed the state government that supplies would be delivered in a phased manner every month.

As per the Health Department data, of the six worst- hit districts, Mohali, Jalandhar and Ludhiana were doing well in terms of vaccination, but Amritsar, Bathinda, Patiala were running short of targets. The Chief Minister directed these three districts to step up their efforts.

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