Image Credits: AP/PTI
US-based pharmaceutical and biotech company, Moderna, has refused to ink any COVID-19 vaccine deal with Punjab amid the shortage faced, the state government claimed on Sunday. Citing Moderna's response, the state said that the US-based firm has a policy of only dealing with the Union Government and not with individual state or any private party as well. Punjab's Nodal officer for vaccination IAS Vikas Garg said that the state had approached Sputnik V, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna for direct procurement of COVID-19 vaccination, as the country faces an acute shortage of the anti-Coronavirus jabs.
On instructions of CM Amarinder Singh, the state government had approached the aforementioned pharma firms for their respective COVID-19 vaccines with a possibility of floating a global tender to ensure swift inoculation in the state, Garg said on Sunday. So far, only Moderna has responded to the state government's communication as it refused to deal.
Due to shortage of vaccines, Punjab was forced to stop vaccination for Phase I & Phase 2 categories in the last three days. The state has claimed that it has received fewer than 44 lakh vaccine doses so far from the Government of India. As per GoI allocation for Phase III (18-44 age group), the state government has been able to buy only 4.2 lakh vaccine doses, including 66,000 received yesterday. A total of 3.65 Lakh have already been used, leaving only 64000 for use as of now, said Vikas Garg.
Punjab on Saturday registered 201 more Covid-related fatalities, taking the death toll to 13,089, while 5,421 fresh cases pushed the tally to 5,33,973, according to a medical bulletin. The state's single-day recoveries outnumbered the fresh cases, with 7,363 discharges. The number of active cases too dropped from 63,470 on Friday to 61,203 on Saturday, the bulletin said. With 7,363 recoveries in the past 24 hours, the number of cured persons in Punjab reached 4,59,681. There are 381 critical patients who are on ventilator support, 1,127 other critical patients and 7,280 are on oxygen support.
As per sources, from August, the citizens of the country would not have to register in advance or stand in long queues, and would simply be able to go and get vaccinated. This is on account of the country aiming to have 8-10 vaccine companies at its disposal by August and to manufacture over 300 crore vaccine doses by the end of the year, a figure that is double the country population. Significant steps by the Centre, including granting financial aid to manufacturers for multiplying the production by setting up new plants, have been taken already.