Punjab seeks Centre's directive for free vaccination of ESIC beneficiaries in 18-45 age grp

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Chandigarh, May 29 (PTI) The Punjab government on Thursday sought the directions of the Centre to make COVID-19 vaccination free for Employees' State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) beneficiaries in the age group of 18-45 years.

Nationwide registration for vaccination for this age group started on Wednesday. Earlier, those above 45 years, healthcare workers and frontline workers were being inoculated against COVID-19 as part of the national vaccination drive that was launched on January 16.

The suggestion to make vaccination free for ESIC beneficiaries in the age group of 18-45 years free was made by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in his letter to Union Labour Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar, according to an official statement.

Such an initiative will be a progressive step towards covering the industrial working class of the country as part of the government of India's aim of vaccinating the adult population against COVID-19, he said.

The chief minister said that the central government as well as state governments are currently engaged in taking all possible steps to combat the prevailing grave situation Singh said he was confident that his suggestion on ESIC beneficiaries will be considered favourably in the larger public interest. Citing opinions of medical experts, he stressed that vaccination can go a long way in arresting the transmission of the coronavirus and provide protection to the inoculated person.

Singh pointed out that as per the Centre's decision, while the central government will provide vaccine to all persons above 45 years, provision of vaccine for those in the age group of 18-45 years would have to be made by state governments and private agencies. PTI CHS VSD ANB ANB