KARACHI: As the Sindh government has vaccinated more than 30,000 healthcare providers against Covid-19 across the province so far since Feb 3, the authorities have revised the estimated number of total professionals associated with the health and medical fraternity and now plan to inoculate more than 300,000 people, while earlier 175,000 individuals had been planned to be vaccinated, officials and sources said.
After weeks of hard work, they said the health authorities in collaboration with different public and private organisations had finalised a detailed plan chalking out the strategy.
“The vaccination drive is continuing at 12 centres set up for the purpose,” said an official. “Earlier, the total strength of healthcare personnel in the province was estimated at 175,000 out of whom the department has identified 54,000 as the frontline force. Now there is a fresh deliberation and it is estimated that more than 300,000 people associated with the health profession would be vaccinated in the first phase of the vaccination.”
The fresh estimates came after the authorities counted those individuals as well who were not directly engaged with treating coronavirus patients or working at virus-related centres, but were associated with the health profession while working at different facilities in different capacities.
The federal government had handed over 84,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine — part of the half a million doses gifted by the Chinese government to Pakistan — to the Sindh government. Each individual will receive two vaccine doses with a gap of 21 days. Last week, the National Command Operation Centre had announced that the government would start vaccinating citizens over the age of 65 for the coronavirus in March for which it had started the registration process. However, before the vaccination comes to the public a large number of healthcare workers are expected to be in the queue to get the first shot.
Sindh govt plans to inoculate up to 300,000 in the first phase of the vaccination drive
“There are thousands of people who are associated with the health profession,” said another official while explaining the revised estimate of health professionals. “Earlier, those were identified who are directly engaged or associated with the facilities which are providing treatment to coronavirus patients. It was later realised that there is also a huge number of doctors, general physicians, paramedics, laboratory personnel, and collection units [staff] both in public and private sectors who are also at risk though they are not directly involved in treatment of Covid-19 patients.”
He said the process had already begun to register them and the job was expected to be completed within the stipulated time. The department, he said, was gathering numbers, establishing database through assistance of managements of health facilities in both public and private sectors and the fresh estimates suggested that it would be more than 300,000 health professionals who would be vaccinated in the first phase.
“As already announced by the federal government, in the second phase senior citizens would be registered for the vaccination programme,” said the official. “In the third one we expect before the general population to get the shots people with comorbidities [to be confirmed from previous investigation and prescription] would be vaccinated. This is a national challenge and everyone needs to put his or her contribution.”
Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2021