In order to ensure safe re-opening of educational institutions in Punjab, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has directed the health authorities to start COVID-19 vaccination of teachers, non-teaching staff, and students in the 18-45 age group at all schools and colleges across the state from June 21.
The health officials in the state have been asked by the government to make preparations for this special vaccination drive ahead of the reopening of schools, which were physically shut due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO), Singh has directed the health department to ensure the vaccination of all persons with co-morbidities/disabilities and government employees on a priority basis. Staff in the hospitality industry, parlours, service outlets including shops, restaurants and gyms among others should also be vaccinated at the earliest, he said at a Covid review meeting on Tuesday.
Commenting upon the vaccination for the legal fraternity, Chief Minister said that judicial officers and lawyers should also be prioritised so that normal court functioning could safely resume at the earliest.
Singh also asked the health department officials to reach out proactively to lactating women who are eligible for vaccination.
He lauded the officials while expressing happiness that almost 1 lakh co-morbid youth and 3.5 lakh young construction and other workers had been vaccinated against COVID-19 for free by the state government.
The Chief Minister has also asked the officials to identify the reasons behind the gender gap in vaccination and asked them to come up with a plan to rectify the situation. He directed the health expert group headed by Dr. Gagandeep Kang to start studying the effectiveness of vaccines in the context of the new variants of the coronavirus.
In the meeting, Punjab Health secretary Hussan Lal informed that the state has received 5,86,000 Covishield doses so far for the 18-45 age group, of which 5,30,610 were used, leaving a balance stock of 55,390. He also said that the state has used 66,040 Covaxin doses out of a total of 1,50,850 received.