Despite a slight uptick in vaccinations in the past month, routine immunisation is still not at its usual rate due to fears of the coronavirus, stated Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pehchuho on Thursday.
Chairing a quarterly meeting reviewing the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) in Karachi, Pechuho focused on the impact the pandemic has had on routine vaccinations.
She was informed that while EPI services have been provided in Sindh consistently during this time, the programme slowed down in April and May as citizens feared contracting Covid-19.
Remarking that this fear must be curbed, she ordered the Emergency Operation Centre coordinator, Fayyaz Abbasi, to resolve all issues relating to vaccinations in the province.
She further directed all district health officers to ensure there was no negligence when it came to the missed vaccinations of children or those defaulting on them.
Meanwhile, EPI director Dr Akram Sultan informed the minister that, with the support of the World Health Organisation, extended outreach services were launched in all districts between June 15 and 27 where 200,000 children under the age of two were vaccinated against 10 diseases.
Sultan further revealed that extensive monitoring was being carried out in all districts and EPI officials were visiting field sites to make sure the programme was running smoothly.
He also added that mobile vaccination units and vans had been made available in high risk union councils in Karachi, with the support of the Indus Health Network.
Moreover, Sultan disclosed that the EPI had begun an awareness drive regarding the importance of vaccinations as well as the location of functional centres in Sindh.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2020.