No forced vaccination plans: ministry

Published June 11, 2021
A woman receives the Sinopharm vaccine in the first drive-through vaccination centre, in Lahore on June 10. — AFP
A woman receives the Sinopharm vaccine in the first drive-through vaccination centre, in Lahore on June 10. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: While around 300,000 doses of vaccines are being administered daily and number of cases is continuously decreasing across the country, over 70 per cent ventilators and the oxygenated beds allocated for Covid-19 patients are vacant.

The Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) has denied rumours that the government would “forcibly” administer the vaccine and plans were under consideration to discourage refusals.

The data of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) shared on Thursday shows that while 1,303 cases and 76 deaths were reported in a single day, over 70pc ventilators and oxygenated beds allocated for Covid-19 patients across the country have become vacant.

As many as 361 ventilators, as compared to around 700 in April, were in use of Covid-19 patients on Thursday. In federal capital 79pc ventilators, in Bahawalpur 74pc and in Lahore 73pc were vacant. Similarly, 72pc oxygenated beds were vacant in Peshawar and 70pc in Karachi, Multan and Abbottabad.

As cases subside, over 70pc ventilators, oxygenated beds are vacant

The number of active cases was 44,236 of which 3,192 patients were admitted to hospitals.

As electronic and social media has been claiming that the government is considering options to expedite the process of vaccination, the Ministry of NHS has clarified that forced vaccination is not being considered.

Rumours have been circulating that the government is considering strict action against the people who have not been vaccinated. Their SIMs will be blocked and they will not be allowed to enter restaurants and government offices.

However, spokesperson for Ministry of NHS Sajid Shah told Dawn that there were no such proposals under consideration.

“We want to encourage vaccination and ensure that there is no risk at places of public gatherings and get together. There will be no forced vaccination by any means but we will have few restrictions to protect public health at large,” he said.

However, some of the steps taken by the federal and provincial governments have strengthened the rumours as the Sindh government has announced that those government employees would not get salaries of July who fail to get themselves vaccinated.

A circular issued by the Islamabad’s Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims), available with Dawn, says that Covid-19 Risk Allowance would not be paid to the employees lacking vaccination cards.

Similarly, staff of educational institutions in Islamabad has been informed that without inoculation they will not be allowed to enter the institutions.

Meanwhile, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan in a tweet claimed that the vaccination had gathered remarkable pace.

A graph shared by him showed that after vaccination was started on Feb 3, two million doses were administered in two and half months i.e. till April 21. Next two million doses were administered in less than a month by mid of May. The number of doses increased from four million to six million in next 10 days and to 10 million on June 9.

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2021

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