PESHAWAR: The health department identified 20,000 frontline health workers for Covid-19 vaccination as the pandemic killed four more people in the province including a staff nurse in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Wednesday.

“On the instructions of National Command and Operation Centre issued to all provinces, the health department has sent a demand for over 20,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, likely to be made available early next month,” officials told Dawn.

The vaccines will be administered initially to the health workers deployed in Covid-19 intensive care units, high dependency units, isolation wards, expanded programme on immunisation (EPI) and the officials of Rescue-1122 including ambulance drivers and technicians to safeguard them against the pandemic.

“We have already established four centres including Peshawar, Abbottabad, Swat and Bannu where vaccines will arrive to be sent onwards to 290 health facilities in 35 districts. The health workers in the relevant facilities will be vaccinated,” said the officials.

Other people will be vaccinated against the virus at a later stage

According to them, more than 100 staffers from the facilities where the vaccine will be administered, have been imparted training in Islamabad and a committee headed by Health Secretary Syed Imtiaz Hussain Shah is overlooking all the arrangements to ensure that the relevant health workers get the protection through vaccination.

They said that the trained health workers would act as master trainers and they would further impart training to others to increase the number of Covid-19 vaccinators, who will be deployed to provide it to the general population at a later stage.

The health secretary, when contacted, said that they were ready to give the vaccine to the health workers as soon as those were provided to the province by the federal government.

Officials said that health department developed online system through which the status of vaccine availability, requirement and vaccinated health workers would be uploaded. “We are in touch with NCOC for procurement of the vaccine as all the provinces have given their initial demand of doses,” they added.

The department has established vaccination committees at district level with additional deputy commissioners, district health officers and deputy superintendent of police as their members to make it sure that the medicines are used for protection of the staffers, who are at risk.

Similarly, the department has set up 290 committees at the facility level where the health workers involved in Covid-19 duty would be given vaccine.

Following the vaccination of the Covid-19 staff, the government has also ordered National Database and Registration Authority to provide data about the elderly people to be vaccinated against the pandemic. The hospitals would identify the people above 65 years, who have multiple ailments and risk the infection.

A report prepared by World Health Organisation said that 31 health workers died of Coviod-19 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa since its onset while 3,111 were infected with the virus. The infected staff included 1,400 doctors, 1,267 paramedics and other staff and 444 nurses. According to it, 2,240 (72 per cent) among the infected workers were males and 871 (28 per cent) were females.

A health department reported said that the province recorded 359 more coronavirus cases during the last 24 hours that made its total count of the infected persons 62,377 while the total number of people passed away due to the virus reached 1,752.

Officials said that vaccination of the health workers was top priority of the government to provide protection to them against the virus so that they could perform their duty more effectively.

At a later stage, the general population would also be administered vaccine, they added.

Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2021

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