Balbir Sidhu says, Centre must provide free COVID vaccine for all without any discrimination

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Punjab has developed robust storage capacity of 1 crore vaccines in State’s Cold Chain stores

Chandigarh : Under the visionary leadership of Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh, Punjab state has been very proactively in taking prompt decisions with regard to day-to-day management of COVID-19 pandemic and Centre Government should provide free of cost Corona vaccine to Punjab in a stipulated time. It was stated by Health and Family Welfare Minister Mr. Balbir Singh Sidhu during a press conference held at Punjab Bhawan, Chandigarh here today.

Mr. Balbir Sidhu said that stringent measures were taken from time to time with view to control the pandemic. Now, Modi’s Government cannot backtrack from its duty to supply the Corona vaccine.  He said that about 5364 COVID related unfortunate deaths till date has happened in the State which is about 178 deaths per million, In comparison to Delhi where total 10,577 COVID-19 related deaths took place and their deaths per million rate is quite high at 528, We are in a way better position than other State’s. Punjab has a recovery rate of 95 % and active cases are declining day-by-day.

Giving details on vaccination preparedness in the State, he said that Punjab is fully prepared for the vaccination drive and State has a capacity of vaccinating 4 lakh persons a day. Elaborating more on this he said that State has established robust storage capacity of 1 crore vaccines in State’s own Cold Chain Centres. He stated that Punjab has also achieved more than 95 % of routine vaccination of Children which is highest in the Country.

Highlighting the major recruitment made in the Health Department the minister said that in past 3 years, total of 10,049 recruitments have been made under the Ghar-Ghar Rozgar Yojana of Chief Minister, Punjab. He said 649 Specialist, 875 Medical Officer, 960 Staff Nurses and 2250 other para medical staff has been recruited on regular basis. Under the National Health Mission on 833 specialist & Medical Officer and 4212 para medical, 205 ministerial staff and 14 class four have been recruited. In addition, 51 staff members have been recruited under the State Health Agency.

Balbir Singh Sidhu said that the ambit of the original scheme Ayushman Bharat of Government of India was limited to only 14 lakh families shortlisted as per SECC Data-2011, while the Punjab Govt. led by Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh, decided to increase the number of families to about 40 lakhs. Till date treatment services of worth Rs. 574.86 cr provided to 4,99,593 beneficiaries as premium of Rs. 418 Cr. paid to the Insurance company. 6246 Heart Surgeries, 95,122 Dialysis, 9164 Cancer treatments 7497 Neo natal and 3532 Joints replacements have been conducted free of cost.

To ensure treatment services to the Drug-abuse victims during the pandemic Health Minister stated that, more than 2 lakh new patients (drug-abuse victims) got enrolled during pandemic with various De-addiction centers of the State.

Speaking on the occasion, Principal Secretary Health Hussan Lal said that vaccine will be given to about 70 lakh people in the State in phased manner, which includes 1.6 lakh Health workers, other frontline workers, people aged above 50 and people with co-morbidities aged below 50. The criteria of the age will be counted as on 1 January, 2021 In the first phase all the 1.6 lakh health care workers will be vaccinated on top priority.

The overall achievement and progress of the Health Department was shared with the media. On the occasion Additional Chief Secretary (Labour), V.K. Janjua, Secretary Health Kumar Rahul, Managing Director Punjab Health System Corporation Tanu Kashyap, Special Secretary Health Amit Kumar, OSD to Health Minister Dr. Balwinder Singh, Director Health Services Dr. GB Singh, Director Family Welfare Dr. Andesh Kang, Director ESI Punjab Dr. OP Gojra, Director Procurement Dr. Rajesh Sharma, State Nodal officer COVID-19 Dr. Rajesh Bhaskar, and other services officers were also present.

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