Citizens below 18 years to be administered Pfizer shots: NCOC

Published September 1, 2021
Vials with Covid-19 vaccine stickers attached and syringes with the logo of US pharmaceutical company Pfizer. — AFP/File
Vials with Covid-19 vaccine stickers attached and syringes with the logo of US pharmaceutical company Pfizer. — AFP/File

The National Command and Operating Centre (NCOC) on Wednesday revised its Covid-19 vaccination guidelines for citizens below the age of 18.

"The general public age group for vaccination has been lowered to 17 years," the NCOC said, adding that the Pfizer vaccine will be administered to those who are below 18 years of age.

People below the age of 18 will have to provide their B-form number for registration in the National Immunisation Management System, the NCOC statement said.

Meanwhile, the statement added that immunocompromised individuals between 12 to 17 years of age will also be vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine.

However, they will currently need to show their medical documents as proof as the vaccination drive has only been opened to persons above 17 years of age for now.

Earlier, students below the age of 18, who plan on travelling abroad, had been allowed to get the Moderna vaccine.

Speaking to Dawn, the National Health Services ministry spokesperson, Sajid Shah, said individuals over 17 years would have to get one dose by Sept 15 and be fully vaccinated by Oct 15 otherwise they would not be allowed to enter educational institutions.

He said those who were immunocompromised and over the age of 12 could get the jabs at selected vaccination centres after they showed their medical record, advising parents to ensure that their children received the vaccines.

“From Wednesday (today) at least partially vaccinated transporters will be allowed to pick and drop students and from Sept 30 onwards, only fully vaccinated people will be able to continue their transport businesses that cater to students,” Shah said.

Similarly, he said, partially vaccinated people could enter and work in shopping malls but they would have to be fully vaccinated by Sept 30, which was the cut-off date for them.

He said air travel restrictions were already in place since the start of August, and people who were at least partially vaccinated could undertake domestic air travel.

“However, after Sept 30, only fully vaccinated people would be allowed to undertake domestic and international air travel, and this restriction would be for both inbound and outbound travelers,” the spokesperson said.

Similarly, in order to travel on trains and buses and use highways and motorways, citizens will have to be partially vaccinated by Sept 15 and completely inoculated by Oct 15.

He said vaccines were available and thousands of vaccination centres had been opened, so “we cannot allow anyone to play with the health of vulnerable people”.

The spokesperson said booster shots would also be available from Sept 1 to those planning to travel abroad.

“But, since a booster dose is a travel requirement and not a health-related necessity, Rs1,270 would be charged for each dose,” Shah said, adding that an app could be downloaded to get a vaccination pass as well as proof that the person was vaccinated.

Minimum age for Covid vaccination cut to 15 years

Last week, the NCOC had decided to reduce the minimum age for Covid-19 vaccination from 18 years to 15 years.

The decision was shared by federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Faisal Sultan during a press conference in Islamabad.

“From September 1 teenagers over 17 years of age will be allowed to get first dose and will have to get one dose by September 15. They will have to be fully vaccinated by October 15, otherwise they will not be allowed in educational institutions. After that, 16 years to 17 years age group and then 15 years to 16 years age group will be allowed to get vaccinated. Dates for vaccination of the other two groups [from 15 to 17] will be announced soon,” Dr Sultan had said.

He had said that those who were immunocompromised and over the age of 12 will be able to be vaccinated at selected vaccination centres after checking their medical record. He had advised parents to ensure that their children were vaccinated.

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