While India steps into the third phase of the Covid-19 vaccination drive from Saturday, May 1, the Punjab government on Friday postponed vaccination for the 18-45 age group due to vaccine shortage. Punjab Chief Minister’s Office on Friday said that CM Captain Amarinder Singh “made it clear that due to non-availability of vaccine, Phase III of (COVID-19) vaccination of 18-45 age group cannot be started as scheduled.” It further stated the vaccination at private health facilities will remain suspended from Saturday. Phase III was scheduled to start on May 1. The government was following the matter of vaccine shortage with the Centre, as the situation was getting complicated. The state had acquired two lakh doses but that was insufficient even to meet the two days demand of the 45+ age group, he said while discussing the Covid-19 vaccine situation at a virtual conference. The state government is focusing to secure a supply for 45+ population on priority, and also assembling attempts to shape Phase III vaccination based on the report of a specialist group led by Dr. Gagandeep Kang, the chief minister added.
The meeting was illuminated by the officials that an order for the attainment of 30 lakh doses of vaccines for the age group of 18-45 years was placed with the Serum Institute of India (SII) on April 26, only to be told that the availability of vaccine will be known in four weeks.
There was a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in Punjab. On Thursday, Punjab reported 138 deaths, pushing the toll to 8,909, while 6,812 fresh cases took the infection count to 3,64,910 in the state. The vaccination drive for all above 18 years of age in Punjab from May 1 may get delayed, said the state health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu on Thursday, as they do not have enough doses of anti-COVID vaccine.“We are not getting adequate doses of (COVID-19) vaccine. That is why we are facing problems. We have staff and required infrastructure for vaccination,” minister told the media.