He addressed concerns regarding new Covid-19 variants
Everyone who is eligible, should get vaccinated right away without hesitation, Special Assistant to the PM on Health Dr Faisal Sultan said.
In a video message on social media, he said that there has been conversation on the new variants of the coronavirus and speculations have risen if they can be defeated by the vaccines.
“All viruses go through a process of evolution over time,” Dr Sultan explained. “As a result, new variants and types of the virus keep coming up.”
As speculation about variants continues, it's important to remember that every virus mutates and the coronavirus is not unique for doing so. We're learning more about variants but in the meantime, everyone who is eligible should get vaccinated right away without hesitation. pic.twitter.com/fD1NNK6lHb— Ministry of National Health Services, Pakistan (@nhsrcofficial) May 1, 2021
Some months back, a new variant in Britain was found which was later called B.1.17 and the strain is presently being reported in most countries across the world.
“Similarly, the strain from South Africa known as B.1.351 was reported and another one was found in Brazil,” he said, adding that multiple new strains will continue to be introduced.
The question here is whether Covid-19 vaccination will provide the same protection against these strains. Dr Sultan reassured that people should be confident about the vaccines administered in Pakistan.
“When your turn comes, go get vaccinated so that you can protect yourself from extreme scenarios such as hospitalisation.”
Earlier this week, Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho said that the Brazilian coronavirus variant P.1 has recently been detected in COVID-19 patient samples.
According to a study by the Aga Khan University, 13 samples were taken out of which 10 cases were of the UK virus variant and the remaining of the South Africa and Brazil variants.
The latter two variants have a higher mortality than previous variants, Dr Pechuho said. “They are also not responsive to vaccines.”
They spread fast and can put the healthcare system under great stress, she warned.
“This is because they make infected people very sick and the vaccines we’re giving will not work against them.”
The P.1 variant was reported in Brazil towards the end of last year. A study published in Science has shown that the variant has 17 mutations, including three in the spike protein.
The South African variant B.1.351 might be around 50% more infectious according to researchers. While the UK variant may be up to 70% more transmissible.
Research into the COVID-19 variants is still ongoing and currently it is not known conclusively which vaccines work against them.
“Please stay at home,” the Sindh health minister urged.