LAHORE: The Punjab government on Thursday decided to get blocked SIMs (subscriber identity modules) of those citizens not getting jabbed for Covid-19 vaccine.

The Primary and Secondary Health Department will approach Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) to share the data on those avoiding the vaccines to block their SIMs.

A senior health department official, on condition of anonymity, told Dawn that the SIMs of the people who would not administer the coronavirus vaccine would be blocked with the help of PTA.

He said the decision was taken to create deterrence and do away with the negative propaganda against the coronavirus vaccine. He said they wanted to vaccinate 40 million people (20 per cent population) till November.

“We will increase our vaccination capacity to 300,000 per day in July and this would help to achieve the target,” he said.

He said the department would serve notice to people who refused vaccines and it would create deterrence and people might start vaccinating themselves.He said the Punjab government would soon approach PTA to implement the directions of the cabinet committee members and the Primary and Secondary Health Department would also issue a notification about it.

The decision was taken in a cabinet committee meeting to monitor the coronavirus situation held at Darbar Hall in the Civil Secretariat.

Punjab Minister for Health Dr Yasmin Rashid chaired the meeting and it was attended by the Punjab chief secretary, additional chief secretary, the DGPR, health secretaries and civil and military officials.

The meeting decided to increase the capacity of administering vaccines to the citizens in different hospitals of the province and vaccination centres would also be established outside the shrines.

The government also decided to establish walk-in vaccination centres to start vaccination of the citizens over 18 years of age from June 12.

The meeting also decided to open all types of business in those districts where 20 per cent of the population had got vaccinated.

The participants also observed a continuous decline in coronavirus cases in the province.

The minister said the people could approach to call at helpline 1033 to give any suggestion about the vaccination process and could also report any mismanagement.

She said they would soon attain the target of vaccination in the province and vaccinated people would be allowed to go to cinema, restaurants and marriage ceremonies.

She said AIDS and cancer patients would also be vaccinated on a priority basis while all restrictions, including opening businesses and wearing face masks, would be lifted in the districts where 20 per cent of people had got vaccinated.

Meanwhile, as many as 39 people lost their lives while 221 coronavirus cases were recorded in Punjab during the last 24 hours.

The province’s infection tally has risen to 343,252 and the death toll is 10,436.

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2021

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