- The COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) is a worldwide initiative
- COVAX aims at providing equitable access to COVID vaccines
- Punjab will join COVAX for sourcing the vaccine doses at the best price
Chandigarh: Facing an anti-Covid vaccine “shortage”, the Punjab government on Thursday (May 13) decided to join the global COVAX alliance for sourcing the immunisation shots at the best price. By doing so, Punjab will become the first state in the country to take the initiative of addressing the vaccine shortage amid the deadly second wave of the pandemic, a state government statement said here. Abbreviated as COVAX, the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access is a worldwide initiative aimed at providing equitable access to anti-Covid vaccines. COVAX is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi and the World Health Organization (WHO), alongside key delivery partner UNICEF.
It aims at accelerating the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country in the world. The decision to join COVAX alliance was taken during a virtual Cabinet meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. Reviewing the vaccination status and the availability of the anti-Covid vaccine in the state, the Cabinet said it is necessary to source the vaccine globally. Since the COVAX facility offers the best prices, the state should make an attempt to join the same for procuring vaccines from the international markets, the Cabinet said. The suggestion for joining the COVAX alliance was given to the Cabinet by Dr Gagandeep Kang, who heads the Punjab expert group on the vaccination.
The Cabinet also approved the purchase of Covaxin for industrial workers for whose vaccination the industry has expressed willingness to pay. The state government has so far ordered only Covishield vaccine for the 18-44 age group, but with this decision, decks have been cleared to place orders for Covaxin too.
In a brief presentation, Health Secretary Hussan Lal informed the Cabinet that of the 30 lakh Covishield doses ordered by the state government, the Serum Institute of India has so far confirmed 4.29 lakh doses, of which one lakh have been received. He said some central government institutions and industrial establishments have been requesting for early vaccination of their workforce. Given the shortage of vaccines, he said certain states were floating global tenders to import the same.
Health Secretary Mr Lal informed the Cabinet that for the 45-plus age group, the last tranche of Covishield vaccine (1,63,710 doses) was received on May 9, taking the total to 42,48, 560. As many as 3,45,000 doses were given to the armed forces, while the total vaccination utilisation stood at 39,03,560, said the statement. For Covaxin in the 45-plus category, the last tranche of vaccine received was of 75,000 doses on 6 May, taking the total received to 4,09,080, of which the utilisation till date was 3,52,080, leaving availability of only 57,000 now.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.