Following a political row, the Punjab government has withdrawn the order of providing one-time limited vaccine doses to 18-44 years age group population through private hospitals. It said the private hospitals should return all vaccine doses available to them.
The dramatic turnabout came after opposition parties – Shiromani Akali Dal, Aam Aadmi Party, and Bharatiya Janata Party –- slammed the Congress government for “selling” to private hospitals doses meant to be administered free.
“The order of providing one-time limited vaccine dose to 18-44 years age group population through private hospitals has not been taken in the right spirit and is hereby withdrawn,” the government note said.
“Further, it has been decided that the private hospitals should return forthwith all the vaccine doses available with them,” Vikas Garg, who is in charge of Punjab’s Covid vaccination programme, said in the order.
State Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu on Friday said he has ordered a probe into the Oppositions' allegations that its government has been "diverting" Covid vaccines to private hospitals.
"What I have learnt through media, I have already ordered for a probe and we will order a proper inquiry. We will keep the issue before the chief minister," he said.
Without going into the specifics of the allegations, he said he will first wait for the entire picture to emerge.
On the opposition allegations, Sidhu, at the outset, said the vaccine programme is not concerned with his department.
"The vaccine programme is not concerned with my Health Department and is under the control of Chief Secretary and Vikas Garg, who is the state's nodal officer for the vaccination drive," said Sidhu.