KARACHI: People wait for their turn to receive a dose of the coronavirus vaccine at the Expo Centre on Thursday.—AFP
KARACHI: People wait for their turn to receive a dose of the coronavirus vaccine at the Expo Centre on Thursday.—AFP

• Murad orders that salary of unvaccinated employees be blocked
• Pfizer vaccine will be administered only to pilgrims, people going abroad

KARACHI / ISLAMABAD: While the Sindh government has declared vaccination against Covid-19 mandatory for all citizens, authorities in Islamabad have decided that Pfizer vaccine will be administered only to pilgrims and other people going abroad.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, presiding over a meeting of the Provincial Task Force on Coronavirus at CM House on Thursday, announced the decision to declare vaccination mandatory for all citizens in the province.

He directed the chief secretary to give a month to government/semi-government/local government employees for getting themselves vaccinated and stop payment of salaries to those who failed to get themselves vaccinated by the end of June.

“We have to secure our citizens by taking some drastic measures,” Mr Shah said.

He directed the health department to establish vaccination facilities in every nook and corner of the province. “I want at least 300 basic health units to be declared vaccination centres in rural areas with a target of vaccinating 30,000 people per day,” he said.

Giving another target to the health department, the CM said five mobile vaccination teams should be established in every taluka. “We have 605 talukas and they must vaccinate at least 60,000 people per day,” he ordered.

The CM also directed the health department to give a target of vaccinating 10,000 people to 90 private hospitals already allowed to vaccinate people.

He also directed the health department to register more private hospitals for vaccination.

Pfizer vaccine

While a large number of people have been utilising their “contacts” to get Pfizer vaccine, which has arrived in the country in a limited number i.e. 100,000 doses through Covax, the authorities have decided that the vaccine would be administered only to those who intend to travel abroad.

Ministry of National Health Services spokesperson Sajid Shah told Dawn that Pfizer vaccine would be administered only to pilgrims and other people going abroad.

Different countries have allowed vaccines of their choice to waive of the quarantine period. However, majority of countries have included Pfizer vaccine in the list.

Sajid Shah said a large number of people, who had received their first jab and intended to travel abroad, were facing problem as to how they would prove that they had got first jab as vaccination certificates were issued after completion of vaccination.

“It has been decided that they will be issued partial vaccination certificates so that they can get second jab in the country where they want to travel,” he said.

Implementation of SOPs

After observing a downwards trend in implementation of coronavirus-related standard operating procedures (SOPs), the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has directed the provinces to take action and curb the possible spread of disease in the country.

The forum has observed maximum compliance with the SOPs at hospitals and minimum compliance at businesses. Among the federating and administrative units, Islamabad has shown maximum and Balochistan has reported lowest compliance level.

A document of the NCOC, available with Dawn, shows that overall 50 per cent compliance level has been observed at airports, bus stands and railway stations. Islamabad remains on top in this regard with 74pc compliance level, followed by Gilgit Baltistan 65pc, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 50pc, Punjab 49pc, Sindh 39pc and Balochistan 34pc.

Compliance level in public transport remains at 40pc, with maximum 66pc compliance level in GB, 52pc in Islamabad, 23pc in Sindh and 19pc in Balochistan.

In industry 38pc compliance level has been observed with 51pc in AJK, 40pc in Punjab and 31pc in Sindh.

In businesses, which observe minimum compliance, compliance level is 40.28pc with 56pc in Islamabad, 40pc in Punjab and 18pc in Sindh. Compliance level at 41pc has been observed at mosques and imambargahs with 51pc in Punjab, 39pc in KP and 22pc in Sindh.

Hospitals have reported 70pc compliance level with maximum 81pc in Islamabad and minimum 59pc in AJK.

At public places 66pc compliance level has been observed in GB and minimum 21pc in Sindh.

According to a statement, a NCOC session, chaired by its chairman Asad Umar, reviewed the implementation of the SOPs across the country.

“Forum expressed concerns over down trend on non compliance of SOPs. The Forum decided to take all possible steps to ensure implementation of SOPs along with pursuing the mass vaccination campaign. All federating units have been directed to check the growing trend of non implementation of SOPs to mitigate the possible spread of disease in the country,” it said.

Meanwhile, Mr Umar announced that the number of vaccination centres in the country would be increased from 1,700 to 4,000.

While inaugurating a vaccination centre at a shopping mall in Islamabad, he said because of the move crowd would decrease at other vaccination centres such as one at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences.

“Islamabad is at the top in terms of vaccination and we want other cities to follow it so that herd immunity would be achieved at the earliest,” Mr Umar said.

“The acceleration of vaccination drive in the country being made possible by huge investment by the federal govt. So far the procurement of vaccine has reached nearly quarter of a billion dollars. Much more to be spent next year for the vaccines procurement,” he tweeted.

According to data of the NCOC, as many as 2,028 Covid-19 cases and 92 deaths were reported in a single day. The number of active cases was 53,099 as of Thursday and 3,927 of those patients were admitted to hospitals across the country.

Published in Dawn, June 4th, 2021

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