HYDERABAD/ SHAHEED BENAZIRABAD:
As many as 979 frontline health workers were vaccinated for Covid-19 in Sindh on Wednesday, as inauguration ceremonies in different cities marked the commencement of the vaccination drive.
In Karachi, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Fazl Pechuho inaugurated the campaign, with the first shot of the Sinopharm vaccine administered to Dr Tanveer Ahmed at the Dow University of Health Sciences' Ojha campus.
Speaking to the media on the occasion, the CM said, "Being a nuclear power, we should have launched the vaccination much earlier, but thanks to the Chinese government, we have now begun the vaccination process."
He deplored that despite being a nuclear power, Pakistan had to run from pillar to post to procure the vaccine, when the jabs should have been purchased much earlier.
The CM further stated that "China had helped Pakistan when no one else did," adding that China had donated 500,000 jabs to Pakistan, of which Sindh had been handed over 83,000 doses, albeit adding that the federal government needed to provide the Sindh government a proper schedule for the delivery of vaccine doses.
According to him, of 320,000 health workers in the province, 180,000 had been battling the coronavirus on the frontline and in order to vaccinate all of them, arrangements needed to be made accordingly.
He added that the second tranche of doses was expected to be handed over to Sindh by the second week of February.
The CM urged the federal government to correspond with other countries as well for the procurement of vaccine to that a mass vaccination drive could be launched.
Also speaking on the occasion, Pechuho informed media persons that the Sindh government aimed to inoculate all healthcare workers by the end of February.
Besides, the CM assured the vaccination drive in Sindh would be carried out in a transparent manner and the details of those inoculated would be uploaded online.
On procuring the vaccine on its own, the CM informed media persons that the provincial health department had been corresponding with the Chinese government and other pharmaceutical companies for the purpose.
Drawing his address to a close, he said, "Life has started getting back to normal and schools have reopened. The healthy systems had strengthened and hospitals' infrastructure has improved. But the pandemic is still here and I stress again the need to follow coronavirus-related standard operating procedures, wear masks and maintain social distance."
The CM and the health minister lauded health workers and distributed shield among them, lauding their services in the fight against Covid-19.
Separately, after visiting the adult vaccination centre at Khaliq Dina Hall, Pechuho expressed the concern that the Sindh government could face some difficulties during the vaccination campaign due to a "faulty census".
"However, we will rely on the National Database and Registration Authority's data," she added.
Meanwhile, addressing media persons on the day, Sindh Information Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah maintained that the federal government had given a "vague" reply to letter written by the Sindh CM to the Centre, seeking permission for procuring the vaccine on its own.
In Hyderabad, the vaccination drive was inaugurated at Liaquat University Hospital (LUH).
As many as 13,191 health workers of Hyderabad district will be immunised against the coronavirus at the divisional Covid-19 vaccination center set up at LUH, Jamshoro. Around 1,900 health workers from nine other districts of Hyderabad division will be inoculated at 19 counters set up at the centre.
The vaccination drive in Shaheed Benazirabad was inaugurated at Mother and Child Healthcare Centre.
In the first phase, 1,300 health workers will be vaccinated in the division.
WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM APP
Published in The Express Tribune, February 4th, 2021.
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