Provinces to focus on vaccination of school students

Published November 9, 2021
A health worker inoculates a student with a dose of Pfizer vaccine at a school in Lahore. — AFP/File
A health worker inoculates a student with a dose of Pfizer vaccine at a school in Lahore. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: As the incidence of Covid-19 infection is likely to increase in winter, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Monday advised the provinces to expedite vaccination with a focus on students of 12-18 years’ age group.

The federating and administrative units have been asked to reach out to school administrations and parents for vaccination of students.

Meanwhile, as many as nine persons died due to Covid-19 and 449 infections were reported in the last 24 hours.

The data of the NCOC showed that as of November 8, the number of active cases was 22,733 and 1,278 patients were admitted to hospitals across the country. The national positivity rate was 1.07pc.

An NCOC meeting was presided over by federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar and NCOC National Coordinator Maj Gen Zafar Iqbal.

“Forum was apprised on progress of Mass Vaccination Drive across the country. Expressing satisfaction over vaccination of students of 12-18 years age group in all federating units, the forum stressed upon reaching out to school administration and parents besides all possible facilitation for optimum vaccination,” a statement issued by the NCOC said. “The forum also emphasised on stepping up administration of second dose to eligible individuals. The chairperson of NCOC appreciated the synergetic efforts of all stakeholders for bringing down the positivity ratio of Covid-19 and implementing obligatory vaccination regime for enhancing public safety and well-being.”

Last week, NCOC had announced that the national average of vaccination had reached 48 per cent and Punjab had become the first province to vaccinate over 50pc population. The data showed that Punjab’s 52pc and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s 48pc population had been vaccinated. In Sindh 40pc, Balochistan 17pc, AJK 59pc and Gilgit Baltistan 54pc population has been vaccinated.

Spokesperson for the Ministry of National Health Services, Sajid Shah, while talking to Dawn, said that risk/crisis communication and community engagement was most important pillar of the response strategy against Covid-19.

“Public was informed continuously with more than 40 major media campaigns, 450 promos in five regional languages, a radio campaign, dedicated social media campaigns, including those on strategies for Ramazan, Eid and Muharram, and 100 days of NCOC health guidelines messaging for all sectors and vaccine administration. We produced training videos on personal protective equipment (in less than 96 hours). Messaging through telecommunication companies (more than 3,000 million messages in five languages) and a rural support organisation present in 149 districts of Pakistan was another achievement of the communication strategy,” he said.

“Throughout the pandemic, maintaining credibility of the government and the army’s national effort has remained an extremely high stake effort. The information management was done with immaculate precision,” Mr Shah said.

Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2021

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