The vaccination drive for all above 18 years in Punjab may get delayed as the state does not have enough doses of the anti-coronavirus vaccine, its Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said on Thursday.
The inoculation drive for those between 18 and 45 years of age was scheduled to start from May 1.
“We are not getting adequate doses of vaccines. That is why we are facing problems. We have staff and required infrastructure for vaccination,” Sidhu said addressing the media here.
Asked whether the state health authorities will be able to start the vaccination drive for the 18 plus age group from May 1, the minister said, “I feel that we may not start by that time.”
The state government had placed an order for 30 lakh Covishield doses with the Serum institute of India for vaccination of the 18-45 age group.
“On Wednesday, we got two lakh doses and prior to that day, we received 1.50 lakh doses. But we do not have any intimation how much we are getting today and tomorrow. If we get at least 10 lakh doses of vaccine, then we can start this programme,” Sidhu said.
“If we have the vaccine, then we will be able to vaccinate people,” he added.
Punjab had earlier also complained of shortage of vaccine for the 45 plus category and had urged the Centre to give 15 lakh doses a week for the state.
Due to a shortage of the vaccine, the state government even had to suspend the vaccination drive at several centres.
The health minister on Thursday said the state is also facing a shortage of medical oxygen.
Against the requirement of 300 metric tonnes per day, the state is getting 105 MT from the Centre and 36 MT from other sources, he said.
“There is a big gap,” he said, adding that the state government was making all efforts to arrange medical oxygen for COVID-19 patients.
The Punjab government has already ordered the closure of industrial operations in order to divert oxygen for medical use.
Amid a surge in coronavirus cases and fatalities, Sidhu appealed to people to follow COVID-appropriate behaviour.
Punjab on Wednesday had reported 142 deaths, the highest ever fatality count in a day since the outbreak of COVID-19, pushing the toll to 8,772.
The infection tally on Wednesday stood at 3,58,186.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)