Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan on Thursday explained that there was no need for “double locking” (vaccination with four doses from two different brands), adding the World Health Organisation had also cautioned against the practice.
Speaking on a Geo News programme this morning, Dr Sultan said that countries should ensure complete vaccination (two doses) of their population from a single vaccine to ensure maximum coverage.
“If you have placed a lock on a door, and you overprotect it with another lock, then it’s just going to be a marginal gain,” he said, adding that from public health perspective there was no need for “double locking”.
He underlined that vaccines ensure maximum protection from Covid infection, saying “the protection rate doesn’t get to zero, but chances for contracting a virus drop considerably."
Dr Sultan emphasised that vaccines were the most important weapon against the coronavirus disease. He further said that the government has data on vaccine efficacy and failure rate, which will be made public in a day or two. “But let me tell you the results of the vaccine are really good,” he stressed.
In response to a question about fears of an uptick in Covid cases on Eidul Azha, he said that the upcoming festival should be celebrated in a “very limited and closed environment.”
‘Fourth wave just around the corner'
Dr Sultan said the data available with the government clearly indicated that the fourth wave of Covid-19 was around the corner. "The overall positivity ratio has increase to five per cent, while in Karachi it had almost reached 19pc," he said.
He said he was in agreement to the decisions taken by Karachi administration of placing new restrictions to contain the spread of the virus. He said places where the virus was spreading warranted enhanced action. “We have also given data to respective administrations about Covid hotspots so they could impose smart lockdowns and restrictions.”
Responding to the recent surge in Covid cases ahead of Eidul Azha, Dr Sultan confirmed that “there will be a requirement of vaccination certificates for travel."
"I believe until complete enforcement of SOPs is ensured, the disease is not going to die down and it will take too much time to vanish,” he maintained.
New variants spread quicker due to 'survival advantage'
The health adviser explained that new Covid-19 variants, due to their “survival advantage”, transmit faster from one person to another. “First two variants were spreading but the new one is spreading quicker,” he warned.
Dr Sultan, however, added that no matter how fast a variant was spreading, “if precautionary measures are properly adopted then it remains in control.”
He also said that people at times get tired of following the SOPs and abandon precautionary measures subsequently, which contributes to the spike in cases.
‘No vaccine fully effective but efficacy ranges between 80-90pc'
Dr Sultan clarified that no vaccine was 100pc effective, “and it doesn’t mean that you will not get Covid if you are vaccinated," adding that "every vaccine has a protection efficacy of about 80pc to 90pc."
Furthermore, he said that the government has a portal where people could request for their data to be corrected on their vaccination certificate or any related document. “If somebody still faces a problem, then the NCOC is here to facilitate them,” he assured.