Punjab: Vaccine shortage slows down inoculation drive in Majha district

Since the free vaccination available at government hospitals in Punjab is restricted to certain categories and not open for all, the Red Cross Society in Gurdaspur has made 1,000 doses available to the health department.

Shortage of vaccines and restricted availability at government centers has hit the vaccination drive so hard in Punjab’s Majha districts that just 1,970 people were inoculated in Amritsar on Wednesday. Numbers are considerably low against a daily target of 22,000 that was set for the first week of April by authorities. Infact, authorities were even vaccinating 6,000 to 8,000 people till some time back. However, the numbers have dropped drastically now.

Similarly, Gurdaspur’s target was set at 16,000 in April but now on an average just 1,500 people are being vaccinated daily.

“There was a time when we would vaccinate 10,000 people in a day. But now it has come down. The reason being shortage of vaccines and low enthusiasm among beneficiaries,” said Gurdaspur Immunisation Officer Arvind Manchanda.

Manchanda said around 2.50 lakh people have got their first dose across the district out of which 30,000 belong to the 18-44 category. A total of 76,000 from all groups have got both the doses.

In Tarn Taran, 1.32 lakh doses have been administrated. While 1.15 lakh have got the first dose, 17,000 people have got both the doses. In the 18-44 category, around 8,400 have got their first dose.

Pathankot Civil Surgeon said that district has administered the first dose to 1.45 lakh people while the number of beneficiaries who have got both the doses is very less.

Meanwhile, the Gurdaspur administration has made arrangements to provide paid Covid-19 vaccination to ineligible persons through Red Cross.

Since the free vaccination available at government hospitals in Punjab is restricted to certain categories and not open for all, the Red Cross Society in Gurdaspur has made 1,000 doses available to the health department.

Any ineligible person can pay Rs 430 and get the vaccine at any government center across Gurdaspur.

“Our motive is that more and more people should get vaccinated. There are many who don’t fall in any of the category but want to get vaccinated. So, we bought around 1,000 doses in the first phase. Depending upon the response to our campaign, we will procure more vaccines,” said Res Cross Society Gurdaspur secretary Rajiv.

He said, “There are many youngsters who want to go abroad or people who have to go out for work and they want safety of vaccination. All such people can now get the vaccine at the government centers in the district.”

In the first two days of our initiative, a total of 145 people have availed the benefit.

“We have even got beneficiaries from Hoshiarpur. Any ineligible person from any part of Punjab can come to Gurdaspur and get the paid vaccination provided by Red Cross Society,” Gurdaspur DC Mohammad Ishfaq said.

“We are hopeful that more people will come for vaccination as the word spreads,” said Rajiv.

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