PESHAWAR: As the Covid-19 cases and mortalities continue to decline, the provincial government has decided to speed up vaccination and give timeline to the public servants to get inoculated besides scaling up public awareness regarding significance of shots against the virus.
Health officials said that making vaccination mandatory for employees of the all departments was also part of the strategy. “Chief Secretary Dr Kazim Niaz has issued strict directives to enhance vaccination. We are going to give deadline to the public sector employees to get vaccinated or face action,” they told Dawn.
A report of health department report said that six people died of coronavirus and 147 new cases were detected in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Tuesday. So far, 4,170 people have died of the infection and the number of cases is 134,928 in the province.
It said that patients were rapidly recovering from the ailment as so far 126,760 positive cases turned negative including 518 recorded during the last 24 hours.
Six deaths, 147 new coronavirus cases reported in KP
The health department conducted 8,128 tests with overall 7.2 per cent positivity rate in the province. Peshawar has 8.5 per cent positivity, the highest one in the province, Abbottabad has 4 per cent positivity, Swat has 3 per cent, Nowshera has 1.9 per cent and Swabi has 1.6 per cent positivity rate.
Officials said that with dwindling Covid-19 related deaths and incidence, the government was making sure to vaccinate 19 million target people above 18 years by December 2012.
So far 850,000 people have been administered vaccine but the speed with which the people are visiting vaccination centres is slow due to which a corona vaccination task force has been established to accelerate vaccination.
Officials said that chief secretary directed the health department to appoint focal persons in all government departments and make it binding upon them to remain in touch with the health department regarding vaccination of the staff.
“It hasn’t been decided yet to stop salaries of the employees unwilling to get themselves vaccinated. However, it is a plan as the government wants to use pressure tactics to increase vaccination,” they said.
They said that vaccinating government employees would create demand for inoculation because they would also motivate their families to come for shots. They said that health department was also ready to send vaccinators to the departments and administer shots to the employees in their respective offices.
“Besides, we are also further enhancing the number of centres from the present 400 to 800. The number of mobile vaccination vehicles has also been increased to 15 from seven last week. Currently, the department is vaccinating 30,000 persons per day which would be enhanced to 50,000 in the next two weeks. Ultimate target of daily vaccination is 80,000,” said officials.
They said that along with vaccination, the contact-tracing of confirmed patients was an ongoing exercise that would continue. They added that there were district level vaccination committees under the deputy commissioners to speed up the process and ensure immunisation of more people.
“We cannot take chances and show laxity after decrease in cases because it has become possible owing imposition of lockdown. Normal life activities would resume only when at least 70 per cent population gets protection through vaccine,” said officials.
They said that there was commitment from National Command and Operation Centre about smooth supply of vaccine, therefore, the department was making every move to administer it to more people.
They said that the department also enlisted support of religious scholars to mention importance of Covid-19 vaccine in their Friday’s sermons because the people believed them.
Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2021