Punjab to receive second batch of Covid-19 vaccine

Punjab government sets target to inoculate 40 million people by end of 2021

Muhammad Ilyas February 10, 2021

As a second batch of the coronavirus vaccine is all set to be dispatched to the Punjab government, it is being hoped that the province’s share from the centre will be tantamount to its population size.

This time, the Punjab government is expecting a hike in the number of doses as it will now inoculate its senior citizens. In the first round, the provincial government had vaccinated the frontline workers.

The second batch of COVID-19 vaccine is expected to reach Punjab by February 21.

To know if a person fits the eligibility criteria, the health department has made a procedure that every person will be sent a message on their mobile phone. The department will also collect data from the NADRA database in order to vaccinate those who do not own a cell phone.

The Punjab government has set a target to inoculate 40 million people by the end of this year. Sources said that in the first phase, the federal government provided 70,000 doses, which are being administered to the frontline workers.

In the first round of vaccinations, the Punjab government administered the vaccine to around 400,000 frontline workers across 36 districts.

According to the breakdown, 23,435 health staffers received doses in Lahore, 6,096 in Faisalabad, 3,063 in Gujranwala while 4,437 vials were sent to Rawalpindi.

According to Secretary Primary and Secondary Health Punjab Muhammad Usman, the vaccines have been distributed according to the number of frontline health workers registered on the system till last Sunday. “As per the directives of Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar, only healthcare professionals are being vaccinated in the first phase.”

Usman said that the vaccines available in the next phase would also be administered to citizens in a phased manner. In the first round, 189 centres are administering the vaccine, he said, adding that if required, the number would be increased.

The provincial health secretary informed that around 600 medical staffers have been trained to administer the vaccine, which is being provided without any delay.

“The Punjab government has its own resources that can be utilised if needed. As of now, the centre is providing the doses, however, if more vials are needed the province can import them in the future.”

Apprising about the transfer of the vaccine, Usman said that the province has the requisite infrastructure to move the vials under strict security arrangements. “We have, more than 2,500 refrigerators through which vaccine doses have been transferred under strict security arrangement.”

He added that in the second phase, 65-year-old citizens will be vaccinated, following which 60 year olds and then 55 year olds will be next in line for inoculation.

“It is expected that this time Punjab will get a bigger share.”

Sources said that the Punjab government has also set aside Rs3 billion for the purchase of the import of vaccines.

According to the provincial officials, Punjab is facing lesser intensity of the virus than the other provinces due to the implementation of the SOPs.

“The population of Punjab is more than 110 million, so the province needs a higher number of vaccine doses to match its population size.”

Published in The Express Tribune, February 10th, 2021.


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