Students who want to go abroad for studies from Punjab will now be prioritised in the Covid vaccination process in the 18-44 age group, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said on Monday.
The CM directed the Health and Medical Education departments to allow districts to use up to 10 per cent of the doses for 18-45 group for priority categories other than those approved at state level.
The move will help students going to countries where universities require them to be vaccinated.
Besides students seeking to go abroad, caregivers of elderly persons and other urgent priority groups may be included in this list, he added.
The state had initially prioritised construction labour, individuals with comorbidities and families of healthcare workers in the 18-44 age group, and has already vaccinated over 4.3 lakh individuals in these categories.
The list was subsequently expanded to include shopkeepers and their staff, staff working in the hospitality industry, industrial workers; street vendors especially those serving food items-juice, chat, fruit etc., delivery boys, LPG distribution boys; bus drivers, conductors, auto/ cab drivers; and local body leaders – mayors, councillors, sarpanches, panches.
Full credit of earned leave
Taking cognisance of the exceptional commitment and hard work of the medical college faculty fighting against the Covid pandemic for the past more than one year, Amarinder announced full credit of earned leave in lieu of their cancelled vacations.
The medical college faculty have not been able to avail their summer and winter vacation during the pandemic period, and would have been deprived of this facility, the Chief Minister pointed out. These faculty members need to be compensated for their service and sacrifice, the CM said, adding that the government had decided to give them full credit against their 30 days of annual earned leave period against their cancelled vacation periods.
Punjab prepares for third wave
Amarinder announced a group of specialists in paediatrics to frame protocols and handhold private hospitals for enhancing paediatric beds and treatment protocols, while rolling out a detailed action plan in preparation of a possible third wave of Covid in the state.
The group will comprise specialists from GMCs, Department of Health, PGI & IAP Punjab Chapter, said the Chief Minister, while directing the Health and Medical Education departments to put into action a comprehensive plan to deal with the next wave, if and when it comes.
The CM took stock of the preparations under way for the third wave and ordered creation of storage capacities for oxygen for a minimum of three days in all Government Medical Colleges, with piped oxygen to be made available in all government hospitals. At least 375 MT oxygen should be available with the state at any given time, he said, stressing the need to prepare for peak supply logistics.
Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan informed the meeting that the state had received 500 oxygen concentrators Monday against the World Bank loan for Water Surface Supply projects, and another 2,500 were on the way.
Amarinder also directed all DCs to identify Paediatric Covid L-2 and L-3 beds in private sector (at least 1,000), with experts to advise the district administration on paediatric treatment protocol/ medicines.
Amid indications of the damage caused by third wave in some countries as much as 25 per cent higher than the second wave, the Chief Minister ordered creation of surge capacity, with plugging of gaps.
The SOPs received from the Paediatric Association of India should be strictly adhered to, said the Chief Minister.