Vaccine delivery likely to face delay, says Sindh health minister

Published January 6, 2021
In this Feb 2020 file photo, Sindh Minister for Health Azra Pechuho speaks to the media in Larkana. — INP/File
In this Feb 2020 file photo, Sindh Minister for Health Azra Pechuho speaks to the media in Larkana. — INP/File

KARACHI: There would be some delay in getting the Covid-19 vaccines from the federal government, earlier planned to be handed over to the Sindh government by Jan 15, the provincial health minister stated on Tuesday.

“The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) had earlier communicated that the vaccines would be delivered by mid-Jan. But, we have just been informed that there would be some delay in this process,” said Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho in a statement.

Preparations, however, were in full swing to formulate a policy plan and set up a comprehensive vaccination management and information system at the divisional level, she added.

“This would be further extended to smaller centres in districts once the system becomes operational. The department is setting up adult vaccination centres at the divisional level, especially in Karachi and Hyderabad, and preparing lists of frontline healthcare providers involved in the care of Covid-19 patients, who would be the first to receive the vaccine. The general population would get the free-of-cost vaccines in the second stage, depending upon their availability.”

Vaccine was earlier to be received by Jan 15

The main features of the vaccine management plan include identification of the human resource required for running the whole system, data compilation about the vaccines’ stocks and vaccine recipients, dissemination of information to vaccine recipients and, last but not the least, proper disposal of medical waste.

“We are taking guidance from the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination and it’s expected that a similar system would develop across the country,” the health minister said.

She expressed the hope that by the end of this year a large population would be vaccinated against Covid-19 that would be a key success against the pandemic.

It may be recalled that the health department had earlier notified the Provincial Vaccine Administration Coordination Cell (PVACC) after getting a commitment from the National Vaccine Task Force and NCOC for supply of 250,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine by Jan 15; each recipient would get two doses with a gap of 21 days.

The cell would be headed by secretary health Dr Kazim Hussain Jatoi while its members include MPA/parliamentary secretary Muhammad Qasim Soomro, director general health Dr Irshad Ahmed, programme director EPI Dr Akram Sultan, Dr Mazahir Ali, Raza Muhammad Shar, both section officers at the health department, Sindh IT head Faizan Gul Sheikh and provincial technical focal person at the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) on Polio Dr Ahmed Ali Sheikh.

The department decided to set up 50 cubicles at the Expo Centre where 5,000 individuals would be vaccinated in a single day.

Facilities for vaccine administration would be provided at tertiary care hospitals in the interior areas of Sindh.

Published in Dawn, January 6th, 2021

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