KARACHI: Sindh Chief Secretary Syed Mumtaz Ali Shah has directed all the deputy commissioners and district health officers (DHOs) to launch a two-week Covid-19 vaccination outreach drive in their respective districts ‘on a pattern similar to the polio campaign’.
In this respect, the officials have been told that they can engage the workforce of other programmes and departments if required.
The decision followed a review meeting of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) with the provincial governments wherein members expressed “grave concern” over the substantial decline in the Covid-19 vaccination drive in Sindh and the failure of districts in meeting their targets.
Public transport, restaurants to be checked to immunise those who are not vaccinated
“In this connection, all the deputy commissioners are required to coordinate with their counterpart DHOs and engage all polio teams, lady and community health workers and other outreach workers for the Covid-19 vaccination campaign.
The services of EPI (Expanded Programme for Immunisation) vaccinators and PPHI (People’s Primary Healthcare Initiative) workers may also be available,” according to a home department letter dated Oct 26.
It also suggests to deputy commissioners that they can engage Accelerated Action Plan staff of the population welfare department for this purpose.
“If the deputy commissioners feel, they may also request the emergency operation centre (EOC) coordinator of the health department, Sindh, to constitute extra mobile vaccination teams by availing the logistic support of philanthropic organisations like Edhi, Chippa, Hilal-i-Ahmer etc.
“The daily report may be shared with the EOC coordinator and deputy secretary (staff) to chief secretary, Sindh,” it said.
The deputy commissioners would also depute their subordinates with mobile vaccination teams with strict directives to check public transports, restaurants and public places and immunise those who are not vaccinated against Covid-19.
The two-week drive was supposed to begin from Oct 27, but sources in the health department said the campaign was yet to take off.
The chief secretary was recently briefed in a meeting that 40 per cent people (13.759 million) in Sindh had received their first dose of Covid-19 vaccination whereas 24pc population (8.210m) had completed the two-dose vaccination course.
About the vaccination drive in educational institutions, the meeting was informed that 65,000 college students had also received Covid-19 vaccine shots.
In his remarks, the chief secretary gave directives to make it binding on private educational institutions to ensure vaccination of all their teaching and non-teaching staff and students.
Published in Dawn, October 30th, 2021