Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu on Tuesday said that the second dose of coronavirus vaccine, Covishield will now be administered after 28 days to people who have to travel abroad for specific purposes.

The Punjab Health Minister said a competent authority designated by the district administration shall check before giving permission for the administration of the second dose before the stipulated period of 84 days.

The Union Health Ministry has issued recommendations to provide Covid-19 vaccines to such people who have completed 28 days of their first dose, Sidhu added.

Students who have to undertake foreign travel for the purpose of education, persons who have to take up jobs in foreign countries, athletes, sportspersons and accompanying staff of Indian contingent attending the Olympic games to be held in Tokyo will be considered as eligible beneficiaries.

In a statement here, Sidhu said these instructions have been issued to all the Deputy Commissioners for further action so that the maximum number of eligible beneficiaries are vaccinated.

The minister said that the Punjab government had taken up the issue of reducing the prescribed time for the second dose of the Covishield vaccine with the Centre several times to help international travellers, especially students who are not covered in priority groups.

Sidhu said that it was unfortunate that because of being unable to get full coverage of vaccination, students could not go abroad for their studies even after paying hefty fees.

The students and their parents have repeatedly urged the Punjab government to reduce the gap for the second dose of Covishield from 84 days. 

On the supply of Covid-19 vaccine shots for the 18-44 age group, Sidhu said the Centre will deliver 1,56,720 Covishield doses on June 11; 1,30,160 on June 17; 1,56,720 on June 19; and 1,32,150 doses on July 1.

The state will receive 25,000 doses of Covaxin on June 20; 12,000 doses on June 23; and 19,370 doses on June 28. He said that 50,000 doses of Covaxin were received from the Centre on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Punjab on Monday registered 1,293 new Covid cases, taking the infection tally to 5,80,829, while 82 more deaths took the toll to 15,160, according to a medical bulletin.

The state’s active cases stood at 19,995 as against 22,160 on Sunday, it said.

Nine deaths were reported from Bathinda, eight each from Amritsar and Patiala and six each from Sangrur and Ludhiana, among the fatalities which took place in the last 24 hours.

Ludhiana reported 135 new cases, followed by 133 in Amritsar, 113 in Jalandhar and 88 in Bathinda.

The state’s positivity rate stood at 2.57%.

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