People urged to get booster dose amid Covid surge

Published June 27, 2022
A man receives a dose of vaccine against the coronavirus, during a drive-through vaccination in Karachi. — AFP/File
A man receives a dose of vaccine against the coronavirus, during a drive-through vaccination in Karachi. — AFP/File

KARACHI: As the Covid-19 positivity rate rose in the city from 15.85 per cent to 21.7pc in three days with one death on Sunday, health experts urged the general public to get their booster doses.

According to the provincial data, a person died of the virus in the city, which reported 206 new cases.

The general public isn’t taking the warnings over coronavirus seriously and the turnover for booster shots is low despite high infectivity of the new variants and rapid increase in Covid-19 cases, particularly in Karachi and Hyderabad, Dr Samreen Ashraf Qureshi, the provincial focal person for Covid-19 told Dawn.

All designated vaccination centres, she said, were active in the province where people could get free-of-cost booster shots.

Booster shot can be received after five months

“Major Covid-19 vaccination facilities in Karachi include the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi, Dow University Hospital, Ojha campus, Children Hospital in North Nazimabad and Thaddo Nalo centre in Malir,” she said.

A booster shot could be received after five months, she added.

According to the provincial data, more than 2,700 patients are in home isolation. Of them, 35 are in critical condition at hospitals.

The Covid-19 positivity rate of Hyderabad has risen to 8.51pc.

Considering the situation, the health department had asked the commissioners of Karachi and Hyderabad to ensure mandatory wearing of masks at public places and check vaccination cards at shopping malls, shrines and restaurants.

A letter issued to the Karachi commissioner by the health director general read that the recent increase in Covid-19 cases could partially be attributed to two sub-variants of the Omicron variant of Covid-19; BA.4 and BA.5.

The commissioner was also asked to ensure that the occupancy of public transport did not exceed 70pc of the total capacity.

“We are experiencing the start of the sixth coronavirus wave driven by BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants. They have several changes in their genetic make-up, which means that they will continue to spread fast and the positivity rate may reach 50pc,” feared Dr Saeed Khan, a professor of molecular pathology heading the Sindh Public Health Lab at Dow University of Health Sciences.

This pattern, he pointed out, was very much similar to that being seen in other countries, including the US. “Right now, we don’t have complete protection against the new mutated viruses, which escape immune response. Cases are likely to increase till herd immunity is achieved.”

Disease severity, he pointed out, would likely be less in most cases, urging people to get a booster jab.

“The sick and people with comorbid health conditions will still be at risk. Hence, it is wise that people get a booster jab or second booster shot, if five months have passed to their first dose,” he said.

Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2022

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