PESHAWAR: While recording five more deaths from coronavirus, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa began administering the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine to 28,000 frontline health workers on Saturday.
The health department said in a report that five people lost life to the virus and 193 were infected with it in the day.
Three deaths were reported in Peshawar and one each in Haripur and Kohat.
According to the department, the province’s tally of deaths by the virus totalled 2,109 and cases 73,708.
The officials told Dawn that they had begun giving the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine to the health workers three weeks after the administration of the first one.
They said they had 28,000 jabs reserved for the second dose of frontline workers, who were being given that in their respective centres throughout the province.
The officials said following the announcement by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan that the Chinese-made Sinopharm jabs can be given to the people aged over 60 years, the health department had asked health professionals in the private sector to get themselves vaccinated free of charge.
Five more lose life to virus in province
They said as the health department didn’t have staff members over 60 years of age, the focus was on the health workers of that age group working in private hospitals and clinics.
“Health professionals working in the private sector are already being vaccinated at the Hayatabad Medical Complex, Peshawar. They can also avail themselves of free vaccination in the centres established at the district level. There’s no shortage of vaccine,” an official said.
He said health workers in private hospitals had been advised to get registered and receive vaccination.
“There are no restrictions on anyone for free vaccination. We want to protect all those vulnerable to Covid-19,” he said.
Meanwhile, reports from Timergara and other district headquarters hospitals suggest a vaccine shortage triggering fears that health workers are likely to miss vaccination.
Health officials told Dawn that they had already started an exercise to relocate the stock of vaccines from some hospitals, which were unable to consume that, to the health facilities, where their demand was high.
They said the vaccine stock from 40 hospitals had been withdrawn for use in areas, where it was required.
The officials said the National Command and Operation Centre would supply 12,000 more doses of Covid-19 vaccine on Monday for the remaining health workers.
They said there were 80,000 frontline workers, who had registered themselves for vaccination due to their exposure to the virus and elaborate arrangements had been made for their protection.
Officials said the health department had a good stock of vaccines for health workers and the new consignments would be used for the safety of the remaining second-line workers and the elderly population.
They said in the last two weeks, the pace of vaccination had risen to a level that the department required more stock for the vaccination of more people.
The officials said around three million elderly people had registered themselves at the national level for Covid-19 vaccination and around 50,000 of them lived in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Our correspondent from Mardan adds: A fully-equipped Covid-19 vaccination centre was established at the Mardan Medical Complex to administer the vaccine to the people older than 60 years.
The officials told Dawn that the five-bedded facility was located near the emergency entrance of the building and was equipped with the defibrillator, emergency tray, oxygen and qualified staff.
They said the centre’s staff had been provided with all necessary personnel protective equipment, while the standard operating procedures had been strictly enforced.
Earlier, a temporary Covid-19 vaccination desk was set up at the Benazir Bhutto Children Hospital, where only frontline health workers were vaccinated.
Until now, the vaccine has been administered to 320 frontline health workers.
Published in Dawn, March 7th, 2021