Will Public and Private sectors have access to different vaccines, asks Punjab CM

In a letter to the Prime Minister on Sunday, Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh demanded vaccines on priority for Punjab and sought clarity on a range of issues related to vaccination

Will Public and Private sectors have access to different vaccines, asks Punjab CM

Bipin Bhardwaj

Arguing that vaccines currently available against COVID will help more in reducing serious complications in the elderly than in reducing transmission, Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday sought priority allocation of vaccines from the Centre.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, the chief minister said that though Punjab had a relatively low case load, fatalities in the state have been higher in view of a higher percentage of people in higher age groups with comorbidities.

The CM also asked the PM to clarify:

  • Whether the vaccine will be entirely funded by Government of India and include cost of vaccine, storage and transportation
  • The principles on which sequential immunization will be prioritized and whether states will be free to prioritise groups
  • If the definition of frontline workers will include administrative officials and others responsible for maintaining essential services
  • More clarity on the definition of frontline workers, who now include security forces, municipal workers and primary school teachers
  • Clarity on whether people previously infected with COVID-19 will be administered the vaccine or not.
  • Whether hotspots and emerging hotspots can be given priority by the states.
  • Clarity on the vaccine, the temperature required in cold chains and the required capacity needs to be conveyed by the Centre.

Urging the Prime Minister to have the recommendations backed by the scientific community, the chief minister wrote that Punjab has already compiled the data of health workers in the government and the private sector and shared the data on a digital platform. Committees for monitoring the vaccination programme at the State and at the district/ block levels have been formed and started functioning besides the audit of cold-chain availability for storage & transportation of the vaccine has been conducted and the shortfall in the equipment shared with the union government.

Pointing out that no adult immunization campaign is presently on, the CM apprehended complications in vaccinating the population.

The CM also sought clarity on how services of private groups are to be best utilized; and whether the private sector is to be used for the delivery of publicly procured vaccines.

Will the private sector have access to vaccines that are different from what will be available to the public sector, questioned the CM, adding that this will create a two-tier system which will need to be carefully handled.

The Chief Minister underscored the need to have a coordinated updated communications plan, as well as a crisis management plan, which could be tailored by states.

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