Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday announced the launch of 18-44 age group vaccination for families of healthcare workers in both government and private sectors, as well as those suffering from co-morbidities, from tomorrow.
Directing judicious use of the limited available stocks of vaccine, the Chief Minister also directed the Health Department to initiate the process of vaccinating co-morbid prisoners in this age group amid the surging cases of Covid in the state, where the positivity rate for the week ended May 12 stood at 14.2%, with CFR of 2.1%.
Reviewing the Covid situation and the vaccination status at a virtual meeting of his cabinet, the Chief Minister asked the Health Department to kickstart the vaccination programme for these priority groups from identified school and other buildings, to prevent further spread of the pandemic due to crowding at government hospitals.
Briefing the cabinet, Dr Gagandeep Kang, a special invitee to the Expert Group, said with preliminary data showing vaccines working better against the coronavirus than expected, including against the mutant B.1.617 variety, a targeted response to the vaccination programme was needed. She suggested more extensive use of Covishield, given its affordability and availability, and the fact that it offers high efficacy even with a single dose, while the second dose can be extended up to 12 weeks. Dr Kang suggested that the Government of India should be requested to include obesity in the list of comorbidities for vaccination priority.