KP sees poor response to Covid vaccination

Published February 7, 2021
A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a "Covid-19 vaccine" sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken October 30. — Reuters/File
A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a "Covid-19 vaccine" sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken October 30. — Reuters/File

PESHAWAR: After witnessing a poor response of the registered frontline health workers to vaccination against novel coronavirus, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to approach the National Command and Operation Centre for permission to administer the vaccine to the willing second-line health providers of hospitals.

On Monday, the health department had established 16 centres to administer the Covid-19 vaccine to 30,000 health workers, who were vulnerable for being involved in the diagnosis and management of the virus patients.

However, most of those workers are reluctant to visit centres for vaccination, officials of the department told Dawn.

They said the NCOC supplied a total of 800 vaccine doses to the department for frontline health workers daily with each centre getting 50.

Seeks NCOC nod for giving vaccine to second-line health workers

The officials, however, said only 408 workers had been vaccinated against the virus during the last four days though the target was 3,200.

They said they would request the NCOC, whose meeting was scheduled to take place on Monday (tomorrow), to allow the province to vaccinate health workers of hospitals, who hadn’t been registered in the list already provided to it.

The officials said on the basis of registered health workers, the province had received 16,000 doses from the NCOC but their reluctance to get themselves vaccinated against the virus had prompted the department to use the allotted vaccine quota for second-tier workers, who were also exposed to the virus.

They said it was quite a new vaccine, so, most health workers were waiting for the results of the vaccination of others.

The officials said the coronavirus vaccination began from senior workers, who worked with Covid-19 patients in medical teaching institutions and other health facilities to send a message to the would-be recipients that the vaccine is safe.

“We have forwarded the names of 64,000 people, who are scheduled to get vaccination in the second phase after two months, but they will now be asked to come for vaccination,” an official said.

He said healthcare providers had ‘certain observations’ about the efficacy of vaccine, its reaction and the government’s guidelines, which disallowed the vaccination of the elderly people and those with underlying health conditions.

“The department wants to administer 800 doses per day, 50 at all 16 centres. In last four days, 408 people have been vaccinated against the 3,200 target,” he said.

The official said the demand for vaccination wasn’t as expected by the department, which believed that health workers would show up at centres in droves to get jab.

He said many health workers stayed away from vaccination centres as they were waiting for UK vaccines.

Health experts recommended advocacy for Covid-19 vaccination.

“Administer vaccine to reputed medical doctors and dignitaries to motivate workers. Public awareness campaign is needed to create demand for Covid-19 vaccination,” a physician said

Hospital director of the Hayatabad Medical Complex Dr Shahzad Faisal, who got the Covid-19 jab during the inaugural ceremony of Covid-19 vaccination in Islamabad, posted a video in which he was seen do exercise in a gym.

Meanwhile, Dr Faisal Sultan, the special assistant to the prime minister on national health services, told Dawn that the government was committed to protecting the life of health workers as well other people.

He said the country’s response to the pandemic had been very good.

Meanwhile, the health department recorded four Covid-19-related deaths and 158 cases in the province on Saturday.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has lost 1,952 to coronavirus. Officials said that random testing in schools will remain in progress despite low positivity ratio.

Published in Dawn, February 7th, 2021

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