Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday urged the Centre to widen its ongoing vaccination drive to include people younger than 60 years of age as he pointed out that the UK variant of the coronavirus has been found to be infecting the younger population more.
Singh said that the process needs to be expedited, pointing that experts have found the existing Covishield vaccine to be equally effective against the UK variant – B.1.1.7.
“It was essential to vaccinate more and more people to break the chain of transmission,” he said, according to a statement released by his office.
The state government, which has already announced fresh restrictions, would be forced to impose more curbs if people don’t follow Covid appropriate behaviour, Amarinder Singh warned.
The appeal from the chief minister came after head of the state’s Covid expert committee Dr K K Talwar apprised him of developments on the new variant in the state, which has been witnessing a surge in the number of cases in the last few weeks.
Meanwhile, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot also appealed to the Central government to make maximum Covid vaccines available so that the second wave of coronavirus can be controlled, adding the age group limit on the vaccines should be removed.
“As Covid-19 cases are surging in India, the Government should focus on vaccination. Public security can be ensured against Covid-19 with maximum vaccination. Hence, age group criteria should be removed and vaccination should be available for all,” he said in a tweet.
“Bengaluru doctor Devi Shetty’s suggestion that people under the age category of 24-45 years should also be vaccinated sounds apt because these are the people who stay out of their house for professional reasons and hence can become super spreaders. India has a huge capacity to produce vaccines which should be utilised fully,” Gehlot added.
Punjab reported 2,319 fresh COVID-19 cases on Monday, taking the tally to 2,15,409, while 58 fatalities pushed the death toll to 6,382. The districts which saw fatalities included Hoshiarpur (10), Jalandhar (9), SBS Nagar (9), Amritsar (4) and Gurdaspur (4), according to a bulletin.