Start vaccination of teachers, students, says Punjab CM

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday directed the health authorities to start vaccination of teachers, non-teaching staff and students in 18-45 age group from all schools and colleges from June 21, to enable educational institutions in the state to open safely.

He also directed the department to ensure that all persons with co-morbidities as well as disabilities, and government employees, are vaccinated on priority.

Staff in hospitality industry, parlours, service outlets, including shops, restaurants, gyms, etc, should also be vaccinated at the earliest, he said, at the Covid review meeting.

Judicial officers and lawyers should also be prioritised so that normal court functioning can safely resume, directed Amarinder Singh, while asking the Health Department to reach out proactively to nursing mothers, who have been clarified to be eligible for vaccination.

Expressing concern over the gender gap in vaccination, he directed the health experts to identified the reasons and rectify the situation.

The Chief Minister also ordered ward wise and village wise campaigns in cities, towns and rural areas that saw higher positivity and mortality in order to prioritise them for vaccination.

Pointing out that Punjab was perhaps the only state in the country to have put in place a vaccination strategy for the 18-45 age group that prioritises the poor and the vulnerable, the Chief Minister expressed happiness that almost one lakh co-morbid youth and 3.5 lakh young construction and other workers, had been vaccinated free of cost by the state government.

Over 70,000 young family members of healthcare workers have been prioritised, while ‘rehriwalas’, bus drivers, shop workers and other deserving categories are also receiving vaccination from the state supplies, he noted.

Health Secretary Hussan Lal said the number of Covishield doses received by the state so far for the 18-45 age group stood at 586,000, of which 530,610 had been used and the state has a balance stock of 55,390.

Covaxin doses received were 150,850, with 66,040 utilised.