Chandigarh, May 16 (PTI) Amid a severe vaccine shortage, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday directed authorities to explore the possibility of procuring Sputnik V COVID vaccine for inoculating people in the 18-44 age group.
Addressing a virtual COVID review meeting, the chief minister said one lakh doses of Covishield, received initially for the 18-44 years category, had almost been completely utilized.
He asked Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan to look into Sputnik V as an alternative vaccine for this age group, in which currently the state government is inoculating families of healthcare workers, co-morbid persons and construction labour, according to a government statement here.
In the next stage, other categories, especially teachers, should be vaccinated to enable reopening of the schools at the earliest, he said.
A few days back, the state government had decided to join the COVAX facility alliance for global sourcing and procurement of COVID vaccines at the best price.
COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, abbreviated as COVAX, is a worldwide initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines directed by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and the World Health Organization.
Referring to the continued shortage of Tocilizumab, Singh said he had spoken to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and hoped that some quantity will be supplied on Monday.
He asked the health secretary to follow up on the issue with the central government.
All efforts should be made to continue to ensure that all other medicines, as well as COVID kits, are easily available for patients in the state, the chief minister stressed. Health Secretary Hussan Lal informed the chief minister that there was no shortage of COVID 'Fateh' kits as the department currently has a stock of 24,000 with another 15,000 to be ready by Monday.
Certain districts were probably delaying picking up the kits, he added. PTI CHS VSD TDS TDS