Facing shortage of Covid-19 vaccines, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday deferred Phase 3 of the vaccination for the 18-45 age group, slated to begin on May 1, while also announcing that vaccination at private health facilities will remain suspended from Saturday.

He made it clear that due to non-availability of vaccines, Phase 3 of vaccination of 18-45 age group cannot be started as scheduled.

Amarinder Singh said as the balance of unutilised vaccines had to be returned to the Centre by all private health facilities by Friday evening, these facilities would have no vaccines to administer from Saturday for 45 plus population, while they could not vaccinate 18-45 age group as they had no supplies for the same.

He said 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 that was not sufficient even to meet the two days requirement of the 45 plus age group, he said, while reviewing the vaccine situation at a virtual meeting.

The meeting was informed that an order for procurement of 30 lakh doses of Covishield for the age group of 18-45 years was placed with the Serum Institute of India (SII) on April 26, but the response received was that availability of vaccine will be known only in four weeks’ time.

Further, the SII had asked the state government to indicate the demand for the next three-four months, with advance payments to be made. They had informed the government that supplies would be delivered in a phased manner every month.

As per the Health Department data, of the six worst hit districts, while Mohali, Jalandhar and Ludhiana were doing well in terms of vaccination, Amritsar, Bathinda, and Patiala were running short of targets.

–IANS

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