People’s disinterest in Covid vaccination perturbs health officials in KP

Published November 26, 2021
A health worker checks the required credentials of a man before administering a jab at a Covid-19 vaccination camp. — AFP/File
A health worker checks the required credentials of a man before administering a jab at a Covid-19 vaccination camp. — AFP/File

PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has recorded four more deaths due to Covid-19 and 81 new cases as health department is struggling to inoculate people against the virus.

“Only vaccination can ensure safety of the people from the pandemic. We have proven medical evidence that non-vaccinated people are likely to die or face severe complications than the immunised ones,” senior health officials associated with the Covid-19 vaccination in the province told Dawn.

They said that presently the campaign slowed down owing to measles and rubella vaccination but the overall situation with regard to the momentum of vaccination was not up to the desired level.

They said that the government so far administered the first dose of Covid-19 to 12 million (52 per cent) people of the province and the second dose to seven million (38pc) residents of the 24.2m target population.

KP records four more deaths and 81 new coronavirus cases

“However, the indications show that the drive will remain slow even after the end of the measles campaign. We will start full-scale Covid-19 immunisation after completion of the measles drive,” they added.

The health officials said that reason for snail-paced vaccination was simple.

The people, who were health conscious, had long been vaccinated while the others got the shots when those were made obligatory for official documentation, attendance in educational and travelling abroad, they said.

“Majority of the remaining five million people, who haven’t been immunised yet, seem silent refusals.

“The government has initially announced blocking mobile SIM cards of the unvaccinated people to ensure that all the population get jabs and we return towards normal lives but it seems the threat has not worked,” they added.

Officials said that health department set up 700 vaccination centres in the province that received people initially but later the process slowed down due to people’s unwillingness to get the shots.

“We have to close down about 10 mass vaccination centres due to lack of public interest,” they added.

They said that after completion of measles vaccination on November 27, they would vaccinate 250,000 people per day against coronavirus.

They said that it would need government’s support to ensure that the people got the jabs.

“National Command and Control Centre (NCOC) has announced vaccination obligatory regime. It means that it is must for all citizens to receive shots and stay safe from the pandemic,” they added.

Officials said that district administration was closing shops and wedding halls besides taking action against unvaccinated drivers and passengers but it was needed to locate and vaccinate those silent people, who had not been traced yet.

“Blockade of mobile SIMs is an option to expedite the vaccination programme but it is the domain of federal government to take a decision in this regard.

“However, we can recommend to NCOC if the situation does not show improvement in the next couple of weeks,” they said.

Officials said that linking vaccination with entry to hospitals also worked as three medical teaching institutions in Peshawar immunised about 400,000 people.

The hospitals have made vaccination compulsory for patients and their attendants for entering the OPDs.

They said that the pandemic could not be controlled without full vaccination.

The virus would continue to infect people, therefore, immunisation was extremely necessary against it, they added.

According to a report of the health department, the province has so far registered 5,829 mortalities due to the pandemic and 179,855 confirmed patients.

Of the infected persons, 173,123 (96pc) patients including 176 recorded during the last 24 hours have recovered from the infectious ailment.

There are total of 903 active cases in the province.

Two of the new fatalities occurred in Peshawar and one each in Kohat and Dera Ismail Khan.

The number of hospitalised patients is 250 and 50 of them are on ventilators.

Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2021

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