Punjab likely to miss vaccination target

Published June 4, 2021
The provincial government had started Covid vaccination in the first week of March to achieve the target by the end of 2021. — AFP/File
The provincial government had started Covid vaccination in the first week of March to achieve the target by the end of 2021. — AFP/File

LAHORE: Pace of the Covid vaccination drive is ‘dead slow’ in Punjab as the government is vaccinating 51,667 people daily on average against adult population of 0.42m, a daily target set by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) to inoculate all 67m ‘eligible’ people by the end of December.

The provincial government had started Covid vaccination in the first week of March to achieve the target by the end of 2021.

However, till June 1, the government has vaccinated only 4.2m people out of 67m total target population in Punjab, which constitutes 6.3pc only, showing desperately low coverage to fight the pandemic.

The vaccination coverage is not up to the mark in Lahore and some other major pandemic districts of the province. The data shows that the target adults to be vaccinated in Lahore were 6.7m but the government could vaccinate 12.3pc of them till June 1. More than 87pc are yet to be vaccinated.

The Covid vaccination coverage is much better in Rawalpindi, the second most vulnerable city of Punjab where 13.7pc adults have been vaccinated out of the total target population of 3.2m.

Only 6.3pc of 67m target population inoculated yet

In Multan, 6.1pc coverage has been reported against the total target population of 2.8m and in Faisalabad, the percentage is 5.7 against the target population of 4.8m.

The government has vaccinated 5.4pc out of 3m adults in Gujranwala and 9pc in Gujrat against the target population of 1.6m till June 1.

As par official data, 10.1pc of the target adults have been vaccinated in Jhelum, 8.5pc each in Sargodha and Chakwal, 7.7pc in Toba Tek Singh, 7.6pc in Sialkot, 7.4pc in Bahawalpur, 6.8pc in Mandi Bahauddin, 6.5pc in Attock, 6.4pc in Chiniot, 5.9pc in Layyah, 5.7pc each in Narowal, Khushab and Mianwali, 5.3pc in Vehari, 5.2pc in Sahiwal, 5pc in Hafizabad, 4.7pc in Khanewal, 4.3pc in Bhakkar, 4.2pc in Nankana Sahib, 4pc in Okara, 3.9pc in Pakpattan, 3.7pc in Rahim Yar Khan, 3.5pc each in Lodhran, Bahawalnagar and Sheikhupura, 3.4pc in DG Khan, 2.9pc in Muzaffargarh, 2.8pc in Kasur and 2.5pc of the target population has been vaccinated in Rajanpur till June 1.

The most vulnerable adults who reported highest Covid death rate in Punjab are in the age group of 50 to 70 years. In the age group of 50 to 69, the target population for vaccination is estimated 8m while in 60 to 69 7.5m.

The health experts had strongly recommended vaccination of a majority of the elderly people from the abovementioned two groups to prevent deaths.

Contrary to the recommendations, the government allowed vaccination for all age groups, starting from 18 in Punjab, leaving most of the elderly people unvaccinated, so far.

The data shows that the government would have to expand scope of vaccination centres across the province in order to administer 0.42m doses daily to inoculate all ‘eligible’ by December.

Contrary to the government’s claim to establish 346 centres across the province, the government is vaccinating nearly 0.2m people daily these days, almost 50pc less than the given target.

It has also ignored the NCOC directions to establish call centres in all districts to improve pace of vaccination to achieve the targets.

Through a letter written on April 3 this year, the NCOC had directed the Punjab government to set up call centres for follow-ups of individuals getting registered and not being vaccinated according to the schedule.

Published in Dawn, June 4th, 2021

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