Urges citizens to administer both jabs of covid vaccine
The Sindh government has decided to resume its coronavirus vaccination drive for children above the age of 12 at educational centres across the province.
The decision was announced by Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho on Friday. The Covid immunisation drive was called off last month because of the nationwide Measles and Rubella vaccination campaign.
“We are resuming covid vaccination at schools now and aim to vaccinate all the students [above 12] by the end of this year,” Dr Pechuho said.
The minister said that as the new Omicron variant rapidly spreads across the world, it is key that people who have just administered the first dose of the covid vaccine get their second shot as soon as possible.
“The new strain is dangerous. It has high transmissibility because it has the greatest hit set of mutations. Scientists have identified 50 so far,” she said, cautioning that this makes vaccines less effective to Omicron.
It is, therefore, extremely important for people to be fully vaccinated. “We are establishing call centres in every district of the province who will remind these people, through messages and calls, to get their second shot,” the health minister said.
The National Command and Operation Centre, as a measure to counter the threat of the new variant, has urged the provincial governments to speed up the vaccination process.
The forum, earlier this week, approved booster shots for three categories:
The jabs are free of cost and available at vaccination centers across the country. Citizens who got both their covid-19 jabs six months back are eligible for the booster shot.
In Sindh, Pfizer booster shots are being administered. They are available at all vaccination centers. The shot will cost Rs1,270 for people below 50 years. People will have to pay a challan at the National Bank of Pakistan.
Omicron, which was first announced by South Africa but has since been discovered to have been present earlier in Europe, has prompted governments around the globe to reimpose travel restrictions, despite warnings from the World Health Organization this could do more harm than good.
The UN health agency said the Covid strain first discovered in southern Africa was a “highly divergent variant with a high number of mutations… some of which are concerning and may be associated with immune escape potential and higher transmissibility.”
NCOC chief Asad Umar has said that it is inevitable that the COVID-19’s Omicron variant will hit Pakistan because it is impossible to stop viruses from spreading in this world.
He said that the NCOC is taking steps to delay the arrival and minimize the impact of the new variant.
“We are ramping up the number of coronavirus tests. We will conduct testing in the high-risk areas,” said Umar.