At least one dose given to half the population: minister

Published November 11, 2021
People stand in a queue to register for Covid-19 vaccination at a centre established at Karachi's Khaliqdina hall. — APP/File
People stand in a queue to register for Covid-19 vaccination at a centre established at Karachi's Khaliqdina hall. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Wednesday achieved another milestone as half of its population eligible for coronavirus vaccine has received at least one dose.

Moreover, the country made another record by administering 1.7 million doses in a single day.

According to the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), 45,986,932 people have been fully vaccinated whereas 76,139,355 others have received at least one dose of vaccine, as the total number of administered doses has reached 114,891,170.

The announcement about the vaccination of 50pc population was made by Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, who heads the NCOC, on the social media. He tweeted: “Reached important milestone of 50% of country’s eligible population receiving at least 1 dose. KP became 2nd province to vaccinate half its eligible population with at least 1 dose. Yesterday was the highest vaccination day in Pakistan with 1.7 million doses. #WelldonePakistan.”

In the first week of this month, Punjab had declared to have vaccinated over 50pc of its vaccine eligible population. After Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has also managed to inoculate half of its population against the deadly disease.

Meanwhile, the NCOC stated 1,703,072 doses of vaccine were administered in the past one day.

Progress against measles threatened

WHO According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), progress towards measles elimination continues to decline and the risk of outbreaks is mounting though reported measles cases dropped across the world compared to previous years.

Last year over 22 million infants missed their first dose of measles vaccine — three million more than in 2019, marking the largest increase in two decades and creating dangerous conditions for outbreaks to occur.

Measles surveillance across the world deteriorated with the lowest number of specimens sent for lab testing in over a decade. Weak measles monitoring, testing and reporting for measles jeopardize countries’ ability to prevent outbreaks of this highly infectious disease.

Although compared to the previous year, the reported measles cases in the world decreased by more than 80 per cent in 2020, Pakistan is all set to start a campaign to vaccinate 32 million children against measles and rubella from November 15 to 27 in order to mitigate the risk of outbreak.

Major measles outbreaks occurred in 26 countries and accounted for 84pc of all reported cases in 2020.

“Large numbers of unvaccinated children, outbreaks of measles, and disease detection and diagnostics diverted to support Covid-19 responses are factors that increase the likelihood of measles-related deaths and serious complications in children,” said Kevin Cain, MD, CDC’s Global Immunization Director.

“We must act now to strengthen disease surveillance systems and close immunity gaps, before travel and trade return to pre-pandemic levels, to prevent deadly measles outbreaks and mitigate the risk of other vaccine-preventable diseases.”

Published in Dawn, November 11th, 2021

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