Vaccinate everyone above 45 years in Punjab by end of April: Chief secretary

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Chandigarh, Apr 3 (PTI) Punjab Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan on Saturday directed the health department to vaccinate all persons above 45 years of age within this month aimed at containing the further spread of the second wave of COVID-19 in the state.

She directed the administrative secretary in-charge of each district to oversee the planning and response system.

Chairing a meeting to review the COVID vaccination and management in the state here, the chief secretary directed all deputy commissioners, police commissioners and district police chiefs to focus on reducing the mortality rate and make efforts to increase the contact tracing, testing as well as to enhance the vaccination drive exponentially to take Punjab out of the present critical situation.

Mahajan stressed that the COVID norms should be strictly enforced to contain the number of cases, which increased exponentially in the past week in Punjab, according to an official statement.

She expressed concern on the reports that the majority of people were still not wearing masks at social, political and religious gatherings, which could turn the COVID situation more disastrous in the state.

Mahajan was informed that approximately 10 lakh people have been inoculated so far and the state's plans were to vaccinate 32 lakh citizens in the coming two weeks.

She instructed the state machinery to increase testing capacity to 60,000 tests per day so that the COVID situation could be brought under control.

Mahajan directed the district administrations to collect samples of COVID-19 affected patients at the earliest and provide results as soon as possible so that the positive patients should make themselves quarantined immediately.

She desired that the doctors and health workers should visit the patients in isolation and proper guidance should be provided to the patients whether there was a need for any medication and further investigations.

The chief secretary asked all the district administrations to rope in non-governmental organisations and other civil society groups for motivating the people to take the jab without any hesitancy.

Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Hussan Lal, said the doctors were directed to upload the sample and vaccination data on the COVID portal on a real-time basis and the messages should be sent to the beneficiaries so that they could reach the vaccination sites in time.

He unveiled the six pillars -- containment and surveillance, testing, treatment, vaccination, citizen communication and information management to win the battle against COVID-19.

He disclosed that around 80 per cent of COVID cases in Punjab in the second wave have been found infected with the UK strain. PTI CHS VSD HDA HDA