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Punjab to start 18-plus vaccination for healthcare workers’ families from Friday

Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday announced that the state government will start vaccination for of 18-44 age group vaccination for families of healthcare workers in both government and private sectors, as well as those suffering from co-morbidities, from Friday.

The chief minister, while directing judicious use of limited vaccine doses available in the state, also ordered the health officials to inoculate co-morbid prisoners in this age group as new infections of he viral disease continue to spiral in the state.

Punjab has one of the highest positivity rates in the country at 14.2 per cent, while case fertility rate stands at 2.1 per cent.

The decision was taken by the chief minister at a covid review meeting on Thursday which also saw the presence of his cabinet ministers virtually. 

Briefing the Cabinet, Gagandeep Kang, a special invitee to the expert medical group, said with preliminary data showing vaccines working better against the coronavirus than expected, including against the mutant B.1.617 variety, a targeted response to the vaccination programme was needed.

She suggested more extensive use of Covishield, given its affordability and availability, and the fact that it offers high efficacy even with a single dose, while the second dose can be extended up to 12 weeks.

She suggested that the government of India should be requested to include obesity in the list of comorbidities for vaccination priority.

Punjab registered a total number of 197 Covid deaths besides 8,347 new positive cases on Wednesday, raising the death toll to 11,111 and cases to 4,67,539 in the state. Meanwhile, 4,971 Covid patients were discharged from various hospitals across the state.

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