KARACHI: The Sindh government announced on Sunday setting up of 11 more mass vaccination centres in the metropolis while Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah is working on a proposal to make drive-through vaccination points on a major route to prevent incidents of mismanagement and violence, which were reported on a second consecutive day of the lockdown in the provincial capital, officials said.
Longer queues were seen at the city’s main vaccination facility at the Expo Centre on Sunday.
The Sindh government announced 11 mass vaccination centres in Karachi will work round the clock in addition to the existing such facility at the Expo Centre, said health department spokesperson Atif Vighio.
According to a notification issued by health secretary Dr Kazim Hussain Jatoi, these centres are at the Dow’s Ojha campus in East, Khaliqdina Hall, Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre and Lyari General Hospital in South, Children Hospital in Nazimabad, Sindh Government Hospital in New Karachi and Sindh Government Hospital Liaquatabad in Central, Sindh Government Qatar Hospital in West, Sindh Government Hospital Murad Memon Goth in Malir and Sindh Government Hospital at Korangi-5 and Sindh Government Hospital Saudabad in Korangi district. The health secretary said that these new mass vaccination centres had been set up “in continuation to the increased public response and demand for the vaccines in Karachi”.
Incidents of chaos
Meanwhile, two incidents of chaos were reported from the old city area of Lyari and Gadap on the outskirts of the city on Sunday.
Chakiwara SHO Abdul Ghaffar Shah said that an incident occurred at the Lyari General Hospital, where a huge crowd had appeared for vaccination. The officer said that a scuffle broke out between the people and the security staff of the area’s major hospital. Police intervened to prevent the situation from deteriorating.
‘Drive-through vaccination facility along the Green Line route planned’
The SHO said that the police did not baton charge the people. He explained that certain people, who were seen in a video being shared on social media hitting people with sticks, were security guards of the hospital, not the police.
Another such incident was reported from the Gadap area, where vaccines had reportedly become short. It prompted the people to hold a protest there.
Several reasons are being cited behind the overrun of vaccine centres in the metropolis ranging from reported announcement of blocking mobile phone SIMs of unvaccinated people to withholding salaries of government employees.
Chief minister’s spokesperson Rasheed Channa told Dawn that “earlier, people had no realisation of the importance of vaccination and now, due to the lockdown, they have found time to get themselves vaccinated”.
He said the rush was not an issue as the Expo Centre had “ample space and is open air”.
“The government feels that people are making the most of the lockdown,” said Mr Channa.
The provincial chief executive has directed all the deputy commissioners in the city to set up more vaccination centres in their district for the people’s convenience. “Vaccination centres are being set up at mosques, Imambargahs and other such places.”
He said the chief minister was working on a proposal to make available “drive-through vaccination facility along the route of Green Line BRT”.
Lockdown and checking
Law enforcers continued to man the checkposts set up at various spots on main roads of the city to ensure observing of week-long lockdown on the second consecutive day, Sunday.
They detained around 60 persons, including shopkeepers, over violation of lockdown and produced them in courts, which granted them bail in a sum of Rs5,000 each.
However, the lockdown appeared lenient as compared to the first day as vehicles were seen moving freely and without being checked strictly. Except for some places, no agonising traffic jams were witnessed. Most markets and malls remained closed due to a weekly holiday.
Published in Dawn, August 2nd , 2021