ISLAMABAD: The government is set to launch a campaign to vaccinate children between five and 11 years against Covid-19, the National Institute of Health (NIH) said on Sunday.

The paediatric immunisation campaign will start in selected districts of Punjab, Sindh and Islamabad from Monday (today).

In the first phase, the vaccinators will visit homes, schools, and religious seminaries to cater for the maximum number of children.

To avoid refusals and increase acceptance for the vaccine, officials have decided to administer the vaccine after taking consent from the parents.

In Islamabad, fed­e­ral Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel will inaugurate the campaign at the mass vaccination centre in F-9 Park.

Sajid Shah, a spokesperson for the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS), told Dawn that to reduce the spread of the virus, the National Comm­and and Operation Centre (NCOC) was coordinating with all relevant authorities and provincial health departments for timely distribution of vaccines.

“The main aim of this campaign is to prevent further transmission of the disease and immunise children against Covid-19.”

The vaccine not only inoculates the children but also reduces the chances of virus transmission, added Mr Shah.

He added that children are more vulnerable due to their external interactions and participation in group and school activities.

After the first jab, the second has to be administered within 21 to 56 days, he explained, adding that two doses are necessary for maximum protection.

Earlier in February, the NCOC had decided to approach Covax to start vaccination of children aged five to 11 years. According to estimates, as many as 43.7 million children in Pakistan belong to this age group.

In June the health minister had announced that the government will begin vaccinating children between the ages of five and 11 against coronavirus “within a month or two”.

Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2022

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