PESHAWAR: Covid-19 vaccination is increasing after government’s decision of linking it with getting admission in educational institutions and land registration and transfer documents.
Prof Khalid Mahmood at Lady Reading Hospital told this scribe that all the vaccines currently used had efficacy in the range of 79 to 96 per cent in preventing the infectious disease.
According to him, protection against coronavirus infection starts two to four weeks after full vaccination and has been demonstrated to last up to six months or even longer.
“Vaccines are helpful in three ways. First, it prevents the acquisition of infection in vaccinated person along with the other preventive measures. Second, it is very effective in prevention of severe to critical Covid-19 and hence avoids deaths in diseased patients. Third, it also mitigates the transmission of infection to others,” said Prof Khalid.
The virus infects 112 more and kills three in the province
He said that it was well known that if they were able vaccinate people on mass scale even with a vaccine, which was 50 per cent effective, the disease could be eradicated.
The physician said it was recommended to go for any available vaccine to build herd immunity and control the pandemic.
A health department’s report said that Covid-19 infected 112 more people and killed three in the province on Sunday.
“We have been receiving more people for vaccination because we cannot issue OPD slip to patients without being immunised against Covid-19,” Dr Mohammad Zubair Bhatti at Lady Reading Hospital told Dawn.
He said that people also realised that it was the only way to stay safe from the coronavirus, which killed 5,686 people and infected 176,886 persons in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. “We have inoculated 100,000 persons so far but no long-term reaction, except mild fever, skin rashes and pain, has been recorded. It shows that the vaccines are safe,” he added.
Dr Zubair said that about 40 per cent people got vaccinated themselves while 60 per cent were coming due to linkage of immunisation with documentation at official level and attendance in educational institutions.
Health officials said that the target population for vaccination increased to 30.50 million from 19 million after inclusion of people above 12 years in the campaign.
“Vaccination will continue till coverage of the target population because the virus can stay around for at least one year. Efforts regarding vaccination would continue till the announcement of World Health Organisation that pandemic is over,” they said.
They added that every day they administer shots to 150,000 people at the 750 immunisation centres in the province and through visit of educational institutions by health workers to immunise the students.
“Charsadda, Chitral, Kurram, Orakzai, Haripur, Mansehra and Abbottabad have better coverage but we are speeding up campaign to ensure that more people get immunised in Peshawar, Mardan, Swat, Swabi and Bannu, the high risk districts in the province,” they said.
Officials said that positivity in the high-risk districts was declining and there would be more decrease in incidence and mortalities in the coming months. However, they said that Peshawar had 2.8 per cent and Nowshera had 2.3 per cent infectivity rate. Both Mardan and Bannu have 1.5 per cent infectivity rate for Covid-19.
The hospitals in the province have 513 admitted Covid-19 patients, nearly half of the hospitalisations recorded a fortnight ago.
Officials said that bed occupancy in Peshawar was 21 per cent, in Abbottabad 11 per cent, in Swat 8 per cent, in Swabi 34 per cent, in Mardan 14 per cent, in Nowshera 7 per cent and in Bannu 25 per cent.
They said that testing of suspected people and disease surveillance would continue in line with the WHO’s guidelines. Vaccination was of prime importance, they added.
Published in Dawn, October 18th, 2021