Residents of Ludhiana villages say no vaccination drive in rural areas, officials deny claims

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People belonging to the rural areas of Ludhiana, Punjab (Photo/ANI)
People belonging to the rural areas of Ludhiana, Punjab (Photo/ANI)

Ludhiana (Punjab) [India], June 9 (ANI): Residents of Ayali Khurd and Bharanhara villages in Ludhiana claimed no Covid-19 vaccination drive was organised in their areas, but the Ludhiana district vaccination officer denied these claims and said more vaccination camps had been organised in rural areas than in urban areas.

"Nobody is coming here. Since the onset of the pandemic, no one came here," said Hari Singh, a resident of Ayali Khurd village.

There has been no help from the Public health department, he added.

Another villager of Bharanhara , Hardayal Singh Singh told ANI that they are not aware that they have to register online for Covid-19 vaccination.

"We do not know anything about the online vaccination system. We are not even going out of the village because of the fear of contracting the Covid-19 infection. The treatment outside of the village, in the private hospitals, is quite expensive. The Punjab government is not doing anything for the rural population. No health facilities are being provided which are desperately needed at the moment," he said.

Ludhiana district vaccination officer Dr Puneet Juneja told ANI, "It is not true that Covid vaccination is not taking place in rural areas. Presently, there are more teams deployed in rural areas than the urban. In the village, we do set up an appropriate number of camps. Out of the 175 vaccination camps set up in Ludhiana the day before yesterday, 130 were set up in the rural areas."

"The vaccine available with the Ludhiana district is only for people aged 45 years and above. We have both Covishield and Covaxin doses. For the 18-44 years category, the state government will replenish our stock. We have used all the stock that was provided to us. We are prioritising beneficiaries of 45 years and above right now. Age group-wise there is a shortage of vaccines as we do not have enough to inoculate people between 18-44 years. However, there is enough stock for 45 and above," added Dr Juneja.

According to him, the beneficiaries of the category 45 years and above have taken their jabs.

"The demand for vaccine has fallen because of the increase in the gap between the two doses. As for the category above 45 years of age, we have approached almost all and that category has saturated," he told ANI.

Anil Sarin, spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Punjab, alleged that the state government has sold Covid vaccine doses to private hospitals in order to earn money, which has led to delay in the vaccination process of the rural population.

"There are a lot of problems related to the vaccination in Punjab. The government is not able to reach its people. Particularly in the rural areas, the vaccination drive is not happening properly. And the main reason is that the vaccine doses that the state government bought were sold to private hospitals. Recently, they procured 1,14,000 vaccine doses for Rs 400 out of which 80,000 were sold to private hospitals for Rs 1,060, and they are now administering those doses for Rs 1,560. However, this vaccine was supposed to be given to the people of Punjab free of cost. Instead of giving free vaccination to people, the state government is earning compensation over it. Thus, the vaccination process is getting delayed and not reaching the rural population," Sarin told ANI.

He further demanded that the state health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu should resign from his post.

As per the Union Health Ministry, Punjab has 18,546 active cases of Covid-19. (ANI)

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