Other States

Punjab left with just five days of COVID-19 vaccine stock: Amarinder Singh

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.  

Punjab’s COVID-19 vaccine stock will last another five days, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said on Saturday as he urged the Centre to share the schedule of supply of the vaccines.

The State has been inoculating 85,000-90,000 beneficiaries in a day, and at this rate, Punjab’s current stock of 5.7 lakh vaccine doses will run out in five days, he said.

Pinning hopes on fresh batches of vaccines from the Centre, Mr. Singh stressed that if Punjab was able to meet its target of administering two lakh shots a day, then its current supplies will last only three days.

In an official statement in Chandigarh, he said he wrote to the Prime Minister and the Union Health Minister to give confirmed supply schedules for the next quarter.

Despite being a slow-starter in vaccination, Punjab has inoculated more than 16 lakh people, at an average of around 85,000-90,000 per day, the Punjab Chief Minister said at a meeting convened by Congress president Sonia Gandhi to discuss the COVID-19 situation in the party-ruled States.

The meeting was attended by Chief Ministers of Congress-ruled States, as well as senior party leaders, including Rahul Gandhi.

Mr. Singh said people in Punjab were still not coming out in large numbers for vaccination due to the “massive anger” against the government of India on the issue of farm laws.

Since Punjab has a majority population of the agriculture community, even the common man is affected by the farmers’ agitation, he said.

“This anger is impacting the vaccination drive,” Mr. Singh added.

The Chief Minister said his government was undertaking an extensive media campaign to address misinformation around COVID-19 and vaccination hesitancy.

Ranked 18th in the country at present in terms of daily cases reported, Punjab is showing a positivity rate of around 8%, with an average of nearly 3,000 new cases per day for over two weeks now, Mr. Singh told Sonia Gandhi.

The number of daily cases is slightly stable, he pointed out, adding, “This shows that the steps taken in the last three weeks are in the right direction.” Even in the graphs put up by the Health Ministry in the Prime Minister’s review meeting, the “curve appears to have flattened over the past fortnight”, Mr. Singh added.

He said the State currently has around 27,200 active cases and a recovery rate of 87.1%.

Thanking the Congress president for the opportunity “to discuss and learn from each other on COVID management”, Mr. Singh said the number of daily fatalities was a concern for Punjab as it was reporting around 50-60 deaths in a day, with a case fatality rate (CFR) just under 2% in the second surge of the disease.

Overall, the CFR is 2.77% for all reported cases since March 2020, he added.

Pointing out that on April 9, a total of 3,459 people tested positive in Punjab and 56 deaths were reported, the Chief Minister said the high death rate is due to late reporting to hospitals and high comorbidity (non-communicable diseases).

Also, Punjab has reported all COVID-19 cases very faithfully, Mr. Singh added.

He noted that as per reports received from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), high positivity is being seen in the younger population.

More than 80% samples have been found to be positive for the more contagious and virulent U.K. variant of the disease, the CM said as he spoke about measures taken by his government to combat the spread.

Mr. Singh also apprised Sonia Gandhi of his communication with the Central government to seek flexibility for States to devise their local vaccination strategies.

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 5:45:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/punjab-left-with-just-five-days-of-covid-19-vaccine-stock-amarinder-singh/article34288405.ece

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