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Punjab reports record 157 deaths for second consecutive day; 30k doses given amid vaccine shortage

“We are to receive 2 lakh doses of Covishield Tuesday but they are for 45+ beneficiaries only as they are coming from the Centre. We had run out of vaccines today so very less doses could be administered,” said Dr G B Singh, director, health, Punjab.

Punjab on Monday reported a record 157 deaths due to Covid-19 – the second day in a row that the state reported a record number of virus cases. The state also recorded a fresh 6,798 Covid cases in the past 24 hours, as per the state bulletin.

The death toll in Punjab now stands at 9,472. Compared to the national case fatality rate (CFR) of 1.10%, Punjab’s CFR is at 2.41%.

Meanwhile, the health department administered just 30,757 doses across the state Monday amid an extreme shortage of vaccines. Earlier, when stocks were sufficient, Punjab was administering 80,000-90,000 doses of the vaccine on an average per day.

On Saturday, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare allocated 6 lakh doses to Punjab — 4.63 lakh doses of Covishield and 1.52 lakh doses of Covaxin — under the ‘Government of India’ channel, of which the state is expected to receive 2 lakh doses of Covishield on Tuesday.

“We are to receive 2 lakh doses of Covishield Tuesday but they are for 45+ beneficiaries only as they are coming from the Centre. We had run out of vaccines today so very less doses could be administered,” said Dr G B Singh, director, health, Punjab.

As per the Centre’s new vaccination policy that came into effect on May 1, Centre will supply vaccines to states only for beneficiaries of Phase 1 and phase 2 of the national vaccination drive (healthcare, frontline workers and those of the age group 45 years and above). For phase 3 of the drive (all those above 18), states and private hospitals have to buy vaccines directly from manufacturers.

Dr Singh said that Punjab has received an invoice for order of 30 lakh doses of Covishield from the Serum Institute of India (SII) and the first batch of nearly 3 lakh doses is expected soon for the 18-44 age group. “We have received an invoice today and we will make payments tomorrow. First batch of 3 lakh doses will arrive soon,” he said.

Punjab is yet to roll out phase 3 of vaccination drive for the 18-44 age group even as it was started nationally on May 1. Till now, Punjab has administered a total of 34.92 lakh doses under phase 1 and 2 of the drive.

Dr Rajesh Bhaskar, nodal officer, Covid-19, Punjab said that as per initial estimates, Punjab would require at least 2.5 crore doses to vaccinate the entire population from 18-44 years of age.

“We have nearly 1.25 crore people aged 18-44 in Punjab. We will need at least 2.5 crore doses. There are almost 72 lakh people above 45 in Punjab and of them, 23.71 lakh have received their first dose and 2.42 lakh have got second dose,” said Dr Bhaskar.

As per the district wise break-up of the 157 deaths reported Monday, maximum 21 died in Ludhiana, followed by Sangrur (16), Amritsar and Bathinda (13 each), SAS Nagar (12), Pathankot (11), Patiala (10), Hoshiarpur (9), Fazilka and Muktsar (8 each), Jalandhar (7), Kapurthala and Tarn Taran (5), Faridkot and Gurdaspur (4 each), Barnala (3), Fatehgarh Sahib, SBS Nagar and Mansa (2 each) and Ferozepur and Moga (1 each).

Total infections in the state reached 3,92,042 and total active cases in Punjab are 60,709.

The maximum fresh cases Monday were recorded in Ludhiana (1198), Jalandhar (697), Bathinda (623), SAS Nagar (534) and Patiala (491).

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