Covid-19 vaccination campaign launched in Karachi

Published February 4, 2021
The Sindh chief minister, health minister and Chinese consul general observe as a health professional is administered the dose at the Dow University Hospital while (right) a health worker flashes his vaccination card after receiving the jab at Khaliqdina Hall on Wednesday.—Reuters/Fahim Siddiqi/White Star
The Sindh chief minister, health minister and Chinese consul general observe as a health professional is administered the dose at the Dow University Hospital while (right) a health worker flashes his vaccination card after receiving the jab at Khaliqdina Hall on Wednesday.—Reuters/Fahim Siddiqi/White Star

KARACHI: While expressing gratitude on the provision of Covid-19 vaccine doses to Sindh, Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah regretted a lack of timely information on the vaccine’s supply and said the federal government needed to provide a proper timetable to the provincial government on the vaccine’s availability.

He was speaking to journalists after the launch of the Covid-19 vaccination campaign organised at the Dow University Hospital, Ojha campus.

“There was confusing information; they [the federal government] earlier said it’s getting the Pfizer vaccine. We weren’t told when and how many doses would be given to us,” he said, adding that health officials had held talks with Chinese officials and pharmaceutical companies and would try to procure the vaccine directly. He thanked the Chinese government for donating vaccine doses to Pakistan.

“China helped Pakistan when no one else did. It has donated 500,000 Covid-19 doses out of which Sindh has received 83,000 doses. For this, I am grateful to Pakistan’s government,” he said.

Around 78,000 front-line health workers will be covered with the available vaccine doses

He also appreciated services of healthcare providers, especially those managing and treating Covid-19 patients and shared that there were 320,000 healthcare workers in Sindh. Of them, 180,000 constituted the front-line staff.

The vaccine campaign in Sindh would be transparent and whoever received the vaccine would have his or her details on the website, he added.

The first Covid-19 vaccine in Sindh was administered to Dr Tanveer Ahmed at the facility. Also in attendance were health minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, Chinese Consul General Li Bijian and Health Secretary Dr Kazim Jatoi.

The Sindh chief minister, health minister and Chinese consul general observe as a health professional is administered the dose at the Dow University Hospital while (right) a health worker flashes his vaccination card after receiving the jab at Khaliqdina Hall on Wednesday.—Reuters/Fahim Siddiqi/White Star
The Sindh chief minister, health minister and Chinese consul general observe as a health professional is administered the dose at the Dow University Hospital while (right) a health worker flashes his vaccination card after receiving the jab at Khaliqdina Hall on Wednesday.—Reuters/Fahim Siddiqi/White Star

‘Inaccurate census data’

Talking to journalists after launching the Covid-19 vaccination campaign at a facility set up on the premises of Khaliqdina Hall, Health Minister Dr Pechuho said the controversial 2017 census recently approved by the federal cabinet might create difficulties for the department in the vaccination campaign.

“Its data is not accurate. That’s why we plan to take help from the National Database and Registration Authority,” she said.

Asked about the vaccine’s efficacy, she said since the virus had the ability to mutate fast, it’s important to vaccinate people as soon as possible. Patients who had recovered from Covid-19 also needed to be vaccinated against the disease, she said.

Earlier at the Dow Hospital, Ojha campus, the health minister emphasized that the healthcare staff getting the Covid-19 vaccine jab must continue to follow all precautionary measures recommended for disease prevention.

“The department is trying to vaccinate all healthcare workers by the end of this month. A total of 78,000 front-line workers currently working in the Covid-19 wards would be covered with the doses available.”

Published in Dawn, February 4th, 2021

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