KARACHI: The Sindh government is set to take a major leap in the ongoing nationwide Covid-19 vaccination drive by opening a massive facility at the Expo Centre on Sunday (today), said to be the largest in the country, where an estimated 25,000 people could be inoculated in a day with round-the-clock service to be offered to visitors registered by the federal government for the jabs.
Officials and sources said on Saturday that the month-long effort of the Sindh health department finally started yielding results and after a number of vaccination centres established in Karachi and other parts of Sindh, a huge facility was set to start its operation, which could expedite the process manifold.
“We can vaccinate up to 25,000 people in a day,” said Dr Sohail Sheikh of the Sindh health department who is looking after the operation of the newly established vaccination centre at the Expo Centre. “This would be a huge and first of its kind [project] in the province. I am not sure about other parts of the country but we firmly believe that such a centre is not yet operational anywhere in Pakistan.”
100 booths to inoculate people
He said initially the department made arrangements in Hall No 4 of the centre where 100 cubicles had been set up in line with all the required standard operating procedures (SOPs).
The centre will facilitate about 25,000 people on a daily basis
He said some 500-strong workforce of the Sindh health department comprising doctors, physicians, healthcare workers and volunteers would be serving at the centre round the clock for speedy and swift services to all visitors.
“We are confident that here visitors would not spend more than 30 minutes in getting vaccinated,” said Dr Sheikh. “This is a national challenge and everyone needs to put [in] his or her contribution. The people here [Expo Centre], the government, experts and professionals and volunteers are giving their 100 per cent. Their commitment and ambitions give us belief that we would meet the challenge.”
It was in December when Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho hinted at turning the Karachi Expo Centre into a coronavirus vaccination centre. The minister had also visited the centre to review the proposal and get a briefing from the experts about the possibility of the plan.
An official said that Sindh had already launched Covid-19 vaccination for housebound people.
He said besides the Expo Centre facility, the Sindh health department had launched free Covid-19 home vaccination for people who are homebound. “The service is available in Karachi and Hyderabad for now and people who want this facility can call at 9123 and 1025 from their cell phones. Those calling from a landline should dial 021-111-119-123.”
Over two dozen centres in Karachi
“With services at the Expo Centre in place and facility for homebound people to get them vaccinated at home, we hope the number of vaccinated people would start increasing manifolds in the days to come,” he added.
In Karachi, he said, more than 25 vaccination centres were working where hundreds of registered people were vaccinated every day. Among the centres, he said, four were operating in district South and five in district East.
“In districts Central and Malir five and three vaccination centres are operating, respectively, and districts West and Korangi six and four centres are working, respectively. The number of these centres would be further increased in other Sindh districts as well,” he added.
Published in Dawn, May 9th, 2021