COVID-19

ISLAMABAD: The federal government has decided to launch a countrywide anti-COVID-19 vaccination drive from Wednesday (tomorrow).
According to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), all measures for anti-COVID-19 vaccination drive have been finalised. The government has decided to swiftly distribute the China-gifted vaccine to the federating units to start the vaccination process.
The COVID-19 vaccine that arrived at Nur Khan Airbase this morning will be shifted to the Expanded Programme on Immunisation’s (EPI) storage in Islamabad from where it will be transported to the provinces. The EPI will transport the vaccine in cold-chain containers, the sources said, adding the federal government will provide cold boxes, dry ice and syringes to the provinces.
The vaccine will be transported to Sindh and Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan by air while to Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by road. In the first phase, the frontline health workers fighting the pandemic will be vaccinated, while vaccination centres across the country have been set up.
In Punjab as many as 189 vaccination centres have been established, 14 in Sindh, 280 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 44 in Balochistan, 14 in Islamabad, 25 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and 16 in GB, the NCOC said. The vaccination drive will be controlled through a digital mechanism.
Meanwhile, the coronavirus claimed 26 lives and infected 1,615 people during the past 24 hours across the country, said the NCOC on Monday.
According to the NCOC, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country has soared to 546,428 with addition of the fresh cases while the countrywide death toll jumped to 11,683. There are a total of 33,493 active cases as 501,252 people have recovered.
Since the first COVID-19 case was detected in the country almost a year back, Sindh has reported a total of 247,249 infections, Punjab 157,796, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 67,214, Balochistan 18,823, Islamabad 41,418, Azad Jammu and Kashmir 9,019, and Gilgit-Baltistan 4,909.
Meanwhile, Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid has said that Punjab has received the first batch of 70,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine.
Addressing a press conference in Lahore on Monday, Dr Yasmin Rashid said that the process of administration of the coronavirus vaccine will be started from Wednesday (tomorrow). She said that 189 vaccination centres have been established in Punjab for this purpose. The vaccination drive will begin simultaneously across the country with the vaccine consignment coming to Pakistan from China, she said. “No VIP will be preferred for vaccine as front-line healthcare workers would have foremost priority in the vaccination drive,” the health minister reiterated.
“China has given vaccine to Pakistan and the government has discussed the matter with all provinces,” Punjab’s health minister said. “It is misinformation that Sindh has imported the coronavirus vaccine and vaccination being started in the province,” she said.
“China is an all-weather friend, we are grateful for its gift of 0.5 million vaccine doses,” she said. All chief ministers will launch COVID-19 vaccination for the front-line health workers from Wednesday, the minister said.
Meanwhile, Sindh’s health authorities have set up 10 coronavirus vaccination centres in the six districts of Karachi. As per details, three vaccination centres have been set up in district central of Karachi, two in east and two in the south district of the metropolis. One each centre has been established in west district, Malir and Korangi.
Meanwhile, vaccination centres have also been established in Badin, Larkana, Shaheed Benazirabad and Sukkur. Trained staff have been deployed at these centres equipped with all the necessary equipment and appliances, including refrigerators.
The Sindh government has already earmarked funds to the tune of Rs1.5 billion for the vaccine procurement. – TLTP