‘Vaccine for 20% citizens soon’
Health minister says trials with Covex completed, results awaited
Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid has said the country will get a coronavirus vaccine for 20 per cent of its population in four months.
She said the trials of the Covid-19 vaccine conducted with Covex had been completed and the final results were expected in three weeks.
“The vaccine trials were conducted in partnership with the World Health Organisation and Gavi. Now, the results are being reviewed in Canada,” the minister said while talking to media after she visited the Rawalpindi Institute of Urology on Thursday.
“We conducted the trials jointly with Covex and therefore a large share of the vaccine will be provided to us,” she informed. “As per the agreed policy, in the next three to four months, the vaccine for 20 per cent population will be given to Pakistan.”
Initially, the vaccine would be administered to the frontline health workers after which people aged over 65 and suffering from other ailments would get it.
She said the best possible treatment of Covid-19 was being provided at public hospitals in the province where a significant decrease in the number of cases had been reported recently as compared to other parts of the country.
The minister said Punjab had conducted over 2.8 million tests for Covid-19 and had been conducting contact tracing to limit the virus spread.
In the last 24 hours, she said 153,00 tests for Covid-19 had been conducted. She added that the first shipment of the coronavirus vaccine would reach Pakistan very soon and the vaccine would be distributed to all provinces as per the national policy.
“If a notable decrease in the number of Covid-19 cases is witnessed after February 15,” she said, “all medical services will formally open for the patients at the Rawalpindi Institute of Urology”.
She added: “The promise of Prime Minister Imran Khan on the provision of the Sehat Sahulat Cards for every household of Punjab will be fulfilled.”
By December 2021, she said all 29.3 million families of Punjab would be provided with the Sehat Sahulat Cards. “Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar has given final shape to the vision of the prime minister as he has allocated Rs80 billion for the programme.”
The minister continued: “So far, we have distributed cards among 5.2 million families of Punjab and 287,000 people have utilised the services from the card. In case a patient exhausts his stipulated limit of Rs720,000 [per year], they may be given an additional cover of Rs300,000. The cardholders can avail the facility of free healthcare at over 270 private sector hospitals in the province.”
The health minister said the CM had kicked off a typhoid vaccination campaign a day earlier. “Under this campaign, children aged between nine months and 15 years will be given vaccination from February 1.”
She said over 20 million children would be given the vaccination at camps and kit stations set up at stipulated sites and educational institutions. “The campaign is being conducted in partnership with WHO and UNICEF,” she added.
To a query, the minister said the PM wanted to make Pakistan a welfare state by creating maximum facilities in the health and education sectors. “In order to achieve this dream, revolutionary steps are being taken.”
She said the government had evolved a strategy to monitor the doctors’ attendance, treatment for patients and the provision of medicines. “Top officials of the department undertake surprise visits to different facilities and monitor the status of facilities at different hospitals. In the case of negligence, strict action is taken against the responsible staff”
Present at the occasion were Additional Secretary Development Specialized Healthcare and Medical Education Department Dr Asif Tufail and Vice Chancellor Rawalpindi Medical University Professor Dr Omar.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 29th, 2021.