Amid emerging risks posed by the Omicron variant of coronavirus, the Punjab government on December 28 issued an order making full vaccination mandatory for entry of people in public places. The order will come into effect from January 15.
Those who are not jabbed with both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine will be banned from "entering public places with large gatherings like sabzi mandi, grain markets, public transport, parks, religious places, malls, shopping complexes, haats, local market and other similar places", it said.
The government, however, has exempted those persons who are not due for a second dose as per the health protocol.
The order, issued by the state's home department, makes no mention of political rallies which are currently underway. Punjab is among the five states where elections are expected to be held early next year.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
The order further stated that all government/board/corporation offices located in Chandigarh will "allow only fully vaccinated adult persons (including their employees) or those who are not due for the second dose as per health protocol".
The Punjab government has also directed hotels, bars, restaurants, malls, shopping complexes, cinema halls, gym,s and other fitness centers to allow the entry of only fully vaccinated adults, including their employees.
The order comes amid the re-imposition of pandemic-related curbs in several states. Night curfews have been imposed by a number of governments including those of Karnataka, Assam, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, and Gujarat.