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COVID-19 vaccine: Punjab seeks priority allocation owing to high fatality rate

COVID-19 vaccine: Punjab seeks priority allocation owing to high fatality rate

Punjab CM also wanted the Centre to clarify as to whether the entire COVID-19 vaccination exercise would be funded by the Centre, as well as demanding clarity on which priority groups are to be identified for sequential immunisation phases.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to consider his state for priority allocation of COVID-19 vaccines. The request comes on the back of Punjab's higher mortality rate, as well as high levels of co-morbidities prevalent in the state.

In a letter addressed to the PM, Singh said that despite the relatively low number of cases in the state, Punjab has a higher fatality rate and would require special attention in the allocation of the vaccines once they start rolling out.

Highlighting the mechanism through which vaccines work, Singh said that it would be best to give them to the most susceptible people like the elderly and those with co-morbidities, as the vaccines essentially prevent the disease from escalating to serious levels more than reducing the transmission rate.

According to a state government release, the Punjab CM also wanted the Centre to clarify as to whether the entire COVID-19 vaccination exercise would be funded by the Centre, as well as demanding clarity on which priority groups are to be identified for sequential immunisation phases.

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Wanting to expand the definition of 'frontline workers', Singh sought Centre's approval in including administrative officials and others responsible for essential functions. As of now, it seemed to include only security forces (police, armed forces) and municipal workers, with some mention of primary school teachers.

In the letter, Singh thanked the Centre for supporting the state government during the pandemic and congratulated PM Modi for taking all crucial steps to ensure the availability of vaccines for his people.

Amarinder Singh also informed that his state has already undertaken preparatory activities for an effective vaccination programme, with the data of healthcare workers, both in government and private sectors, being compiled and shared online. For the cold storage facilities to store and transport the vaccines, he added that Punjab had notified the Centre about the shortfall in equipment arising from the audit that was conducted.

So far, Punjab has witnessed 1.55 lakh coronavirus cases and 4,905 fatalities.

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