Covid vaccine: Punjab expands 18-44 age group priority list amid rising infections in state

CHANDIGARH: Amid a shortage of anti-coronavirus vaccine, the Punjab government on Thursday expanded the vaccination priority list for the 18-44 age group.

It will be effective from June 1, a government statement said.

The new priority list includes those from the hospitality sector, shopkeepers and their staff, industrial workers, street vendors, delivery boys, bus and cab drivers, conductors and members of local bodies.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who chaired a coronavirus review meeting here, said as of date, 4.3 lakh individuals in the existing vaccination priority list of construction labour, co-morbid individuals and families of healthcare workers have been vaccinated.

He said besides shopkeepers and their staff members, the expanded priority list will include industrial workers, the staff working in hotels, restaurants, marriage palaces and caterers.

Bus drivers, conductors, auto/cab drivers, mayors, councillors, sarpanches (village heads) and panches will also be covered from June 1, he said.

As far as the existing vaccine stocks are concerned, the state has only 36,000 Covishield and 50,000 Covaxin doses for the 45-plus age group and these are sufficient only for a day, those present at the meeting were told.

For the 18-44 age group, the state has so far received 4,29,780 of the 30 lakh doses ordered by it while no Covaxin dose had been received though an advance payment had been made for 1,14,190 doses, according to the statement.