ISLAMABAD: As Pakistan passed another milestone of administering at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine to over 100 million people on Tuesday, as many as 1,467 persons were infected with the virus and two lost their lives.
According to a statement issued by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), the country achieved another major milestone in the vaccination campaign, covering 100m people who have received at least one dose of vaccine.
“Of these [100m people], nearly 75m are fully vaccinated, which is 33pc of total population and 49pc of eligible population. Work is not complete yet. Need to keep the momentum going,” it stated.
Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar announced the achievement and asked the masses to get themselves vaccinated at the earliest.
A document, available with Dawn, showed that while the national positivity rate stood at 3.37pc, Sindh reported the highest positivity of 6.83pc, followed by Punjab (2.13pc), Azad Jammu and Kashmir (1.72pc), Gilgit-Baltistan (0.61pc), Balochistan (0.55pc) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (0.46pc).
Karachi topped the list of cities with 18pc positivity, followed by Mirpur (4.92pc), Peshawar (4.19pc), Lahore (3.88pc), Gilgit (3.7pc) and Islamabad (2.78pc).
The NCOC data showed that the number of active cases, which was less than 10,000 in December 2021, was18,947 as of January 11, with 772 patients admitted to hospitals across the country.
Meanwhile, as Omicron is continuously spreading in Pakistan, the World Health Organisation designated B.1.1.529 as a variant of concern following the advice from its Technical Advisory Group on Virus Evolution.
Omicron is a highly divergent variant with a high number of mutations, including 26-32 mutations in the spike protein, some of which are likely to be associated with humoral immune escape potential and higher transmissibility.
According to a statement, the overall risk related to Omicron remains very high for a number of reasons. First, the global risk of Covid-19 remains very high overall. Second, current data indicates that Omicron has a significant growth advantage over Delta, leading to rapid spread in the community. The rapid increase in cases will lead to an increase in hospitalisations, may pose overwhelming demands on healthcare systems and lead to significant morbidity, particularly in vulnerable populations.
Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2022