Hopes high as Covid vaccination of 2.38m children in Sindh appears in sight

Published September 25, 2022
A boy receives his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination centre in Karachi, January 3. — Reuters/File
A boy receives his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination centre in Karachi, January 3. — Reuters/File

• Vaccination campaign to continue on Sunday to achieve desired results
• Officials say response from parents in Karachi, Hyderabad very positive

KARACHI: Keeping in view the target of vaccinating 2.38 million children in the age group of five to 11 years against Covid-19, Sindh health authorities crossed the two million mark on Saturday, the final day of the scheduled campaign, raising hopes of the provincial administration of achieving the desired results, who extended the campaign for another day to inoculate the left out children.

The officials associated with the design and execution of the campaign said that the vaccination drive which was launched on Sept 19 and scheduled to end on 24 had now been extended for another day [till Sunday] in the districts which still had children left out during the vaccination campaign.

“Until Friday [Sept 23] total 1.95 million children had been vaccinated in all seven districts of Karachi division and Hyderabad district,” said Dr Irshad Memon, the project director Sindh of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI).

“So by the end of September 24 [Saturday] we can safely claim that the number has crossed the two million mark and it would further increase by tomorrow [Sunday] after extension of campaign for another day. The target set for the vaccination in Karachi and Hyderabad now very much in sight. We have received a very positive response from parents who are willing came forward for the [Covid-19] vaccination.”

The Sindh government, like other provinces, launched the campaign on September 19 to vaccinate 2.38m children in the age group of five to 11 against Covid-19 in Karachi and Hyderabad.

By Sept 24, the government had covered 81 per cent of the targeted number.

The drive went on steadily as the number continued to grow with each passing day and the campaign, under which 263,978 children were inoculated on the first day, vaccinated 481,808 on Sept 23 —the last scheduled day of the drive before its extension until Sunday.

Among Karachi districts, Malir topped, in comparison with other districts, where more than 95pc of the targeted children were inoculated until Sept 23 followed by Korangi district where 86.72pc of the targeted children were vaccinated, South district 85.12pc and West district 82.83pc received first jab of the Covid vaccination.

The teams were able to cover less than 80pc of the targeted number of children in Central, East and Keamari districts.

In Hyderabad, 84.64pc children were vaccination by Sept 23.

The authorities who were earlier not sure about the response of parents to allow their children to get vaccinated witnessed a pleasant surprise and experienced a “very ignorable number” of the guardians, who rejected the government initiative and denied jabs to their children.

“The response is highly positive,” said Dr Memon of the EPI.

“There are a very ignorable number of people who rejected or denied jabs for their children. If compare it with the target, which is set at 2.38 million, and the achieved numbers so far, we have received denial cases from 25,000 and 30,000 parents. This is very meagre number.”

After completion of the first phase of the campaign today [Sunday], the official said, the drive for the second dose of the vaccine would be launched after three weeks.

While schools remained the main site for vaccination, a door-to-door campaign is also being launched to cover children not enrolled in schools, he added.

Published in Dawn, September 25th, 2022

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