KARACHI: Over 100,000 people, who received their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, have not reported back to the government-run adult vaccination centres for their second vaccine dose, leaving them very vulnerable to the disease, health department officials stated on Thursday.
According to health department sources, a total of 405,673 people have been scheduled for the second vaccine dose till date since the vaccination process started in February this year. Of them, 300,949 have got the second dose whereas 104,724 have not returned for their second dose. These individuals included health workers.
“We got contact details of all absent individuals and are reminding them for their second dose through text messages as well as by calling them. I think some of them might have thought that a single dose was sufficient or must have been discouraged by myths and fabricated reports on social media,” said Dr Samreen Ashraf Qureshi, provincial focal person for Covid-19 vaccination, emphasising that all vaccines were safe and effective.
So far, the government has granted approval to five Covid-19 vaccines — Sinopharm, Sinovac, Sputnik, AstraZeneca and CanSino. Except the CanSino vaccine, whose administration has recently been initiated at government-run facilities, all three vaccines are double-dose. The Sputnik vaccine was being administered at private facilities.
‘Getting only one dose doesn’t provide a person with full protection against the disease’
Explaining why it’s important to get the second vaccine dose, Dr Qureshi said getting only one dose didn’t provide a person with full protection (against the disease) and didn’t give him or her full effectiveness of the vaccine. The gap between the first and second doses for the Sinopharm vaccine is 21 days, 28 days for Sinovac and four to 12 weeks for AstraZeneca. The efficacy of AstraZeneca increases a lot if its second dose is administered with a gap of 12 weeks.
“If a person has lost more than the required time, he or she must not waste more time and get the second dose.
“Second, the department also ensures that an individual gets his or her second dose from the same vaccine. It’s true that people can still fall ill with Covid-19 even after getting vaccinated, but the vaccine reduces disease severity and the need for hospitalisation.”
Dr Qureshi described the feedback at the Expo Centre vaccination facility as very encouraging and said currently 5,000 to 6,000 people were getting the vaccine jab daily and the department was prepared to handle a greater number of people as its vaccinating capacity was 25,000 to 30,000 persons daily.
Health department sources said the provincial government was setting up vaccination centres in industrial areas, press clubs and educational institutes to facilitate mass vaccination to restore normal business, trade and industrial activities.
According to the health department, 285 adult vaccination centres have been set up in the province and 1,106,384 persons have received the anti-Covid jabs thus far.
Published in Dawn, May 28th, 2021