PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa detected 1,317 new Covid-19 cases and three deaths on Thursday as the health department decided to launch a 14-day vaccination campaign from February 1 to put brakes on the transmission of the virus amid rising hospitalisations due to the pandemic.
Officials said that the drive was meant to administer vaccines to students of schools because they were potential sources of transmitting the pandemic to the elderly people in their homes and neighbourhoods.
Most of the students in government schools were immunised and the remaining would be covered in the campaign but the main hindrance was private schools where parents were reluctant to give consent for vaccination of their children, they said.
Officials said that admissions in hospitals due to the pandemic rose to 9.1 per cent from 5.7 per cent recorded a week before.
They said that the campaign would target 9,500 private schools where 100,000 students of the total 648,000 were already immunised.
They added that the vaccination of students was in line with the guidelines of the National Command and Operation Centre to contain the spread of the virus.
They said that the upsurge in infections was due to the Omicron variant of the virus, which transmitted more rapidly than the previous variants.
They said that the vaccination drive would take place in 22 districts to achieve the 90 per cent target of first dose coverage. In snow-bound districts, the drive will be held in March.
KP records three deaths and 1,317 new cases
A letter sent by the director-general health services, Dr Niaz Mohammad, urged the managing director of Private School Regulatory Authority, Ahmad Zeb, to ensure vaccination of all students of private educational institutions.
It said that all private schools would serve as an essential platform for the campaign and consent of parents would be obtained before the campaign so that target could be met. It added that owners of private schools be instructed to extend full cooperation to the vaccinators in that regard.
“Schools should disallow the students for showing laxity to get jabs while schools shall be closed down for showing hesitancy against vaccination by the respective district administration in addition to the imposition of more penalties as per law,” it said.
The director-general health has also appealed to the All Private Schools Association for cooperation in making the vaccination campaign successful and hoped it will play its part to fulfil the national responsibility.
Earlier, a meeting attended by Health Minister Taimur Salim Jhagra, Health Secretary Tahir Orakzai and others reviewed the micro plan prepared for the activity.
A report of the health department said that the province’s mortalities from the virus reached 5,989 while the number of cases 189,300. It said that the province recorded three deaths one each in Peshawar, Dera Ismail Khan and Kohat. These districts recorded 30 per cent, 28 per cent and 30 per cent positivity rate, respectively. Overall positivity in the province was 4.5pc, it added.
Active patients in the province were 7,047, it said. According to it, 1, 76,224 of the infected ones, including 143 in 24 hours, have recovered. Fifteen new Omicron patients surfaced, making total tally of people infected with new variant 383 in the province.
Peshawar, the epicentre of the virus, recorded 713 cases, Mardan 185, Swabi 62, Kohat 68, Nowshera 58, Mansehra 53, Abbottabad 45, Swat 23 and Dera Ismail Khan reported 29 cases.
A total of 268 patients are in the hospitals in the province with 12 of them on ventilators and 5,608 in isolation. Bed occupancy in Swabi is 13 per cent, in Peshawar 14 per cent, in Bannu 10 per cent, in Abbottabad 07 per cent and in Mardan and Swat 02 per cent each.
Published in Dawn, January 28th, 2022