ISLAMABAD: While the demand for booster dose is increasing across the globe, speakers during a conference held at the Health Services Academy (HSA) have warned that mix-and-match of Covid-19 vaccine can be dangerous.
However, they expressed satisfaction over the government’s performance in controlling the deadly virus across the country.
On the other hand, 1,780 new cases were reported and 42 people succumbed to coronavirus on Sunday. The national positivity rate dropped to less than four per cent.
The three-day 11th annual public health conference titled ‘Contemporary medicines, health technologies and vaccines for emerging public health risks’, which focused on improving access to medical services and vaccines to overcome health-related challenges, concluded on Sunday.
UHS Vice Chancellor Dr Javed Akram told the participants that Pakistan was the only country where over half a dozen vaccines of the novel coronavirus were being used at the same time.
“On the other hand, a debate has started if booster shots protect people more. I would say people should be very careful about it. If they want to have a booster shot, they should get the same vaccine which has already been administered to them,” he said.
He said mix-and-match [using more than one vaccine for a person] of vaccine could be dangerous as there was no study which proved that the booster shot was safe.
“I would suggest that people should avoid mix-and-match. Moreover, a debate has started if infants should be administered the vaccine. I would again suggest that it can be dangerous and people should avoid it unless a study would prove that the vaccine is safe for infants,” Dr Akram said.
Over 100 research papers were presented during the conference and 65 of them were selected for publication by HSA.
The Dean of HSA, Dr Shehzad Ali Khan, said the academy had become the first university of Pakistan that had initiated a Bachelor of Science programme in Public Health Services and in Midwifery.
Spokesperson for the Ministry of National Health Service Sajid Shah, while talking to Dawn, said that HSA had been included in OIC’s organisations of excellence in public health and with this Pakistan would now be contributing to least developed Islamic countries of the OIC, along with COMSTECH Secretariat of Islamabad.
According to data of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), 78,218,690 doses of Covid-19 vaccine have so far been administered in Pakistan. The NCOC data showed that the national positivity rate stood at 3.98pc on Sunday after a gap of two-and-a-half months. Earlier, it was recorded at 3.63pc on July 12.
Published in Dawn, September 27th, 2021