As the pandemic’s third wave continues to strike fear, the demand for coronavirus vaccine appears to have taken a steady upturn in the province of Sindh, including Karachi. In response to which, over 20 private hospitals and laboratories across the province had duly sought the government’s green-light to start inoculating within their own facilities.
However, despite the passage of a month since then, the government is yet to respond in the affirmative, leaving a handful of approved vaccination centres to bear the burden of the entire population.
According to the managements of the 20 vaccination-centre hopefuls awaiting approval, the Sindh government has so far only greenlit three private hospitals to provide the coronavirus jabs. The managements of the 17 private hospitals that remain unapproved claim fulfilling all needful protocols of The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), National Command and Control Centre (NCOC) and the government.
While the provincial government has turned a deaf ear to repeated requests made in the regard by said private institutions, several private healthcare facilities have also remained unable to procure further vaccines, which has resultantly slowed down the immunisation process.
“Effective immunisation is the only foreseeable solution to the pandemic and thus our only beacon of light at the end of this dark tunnel,” commented a heathcare expert while talking about the need for boosting Sindh’s inoculation capacity. “Around the world, vaccines are being administered to healthy people and the same people are also serving other coronavirus patients who are also at risk. Vaccines are being administered in OPD clinics in different countries while owners of various companies and industries have also set up temporary vaccination clinics for their employees so that their employees can be vaccinated against the deadly virus,” he added.
Speaking in the same vein local healthcare experts have also questioned the provincial government’s lax attitude towards the inoculation process. “More than 700 million people around the world have received their Covid-19 shots so far. While for Pakistan, the number still stands at barely one million. However, we have not noticed any adverse reactions to the vaccines, which is a positive sign and the more reason for the government to hit the pedal on its immunisation drive,” shared a senior healthcare expert speaking on conditions of anonymity.
Read more: Sindh sees surge in Covid infections
Government funded vaccination is currently underway at three chief venues in the provincial capital, including Khaliq Dina Hall, Arts Council and the Pakistan Medical Association house. While the same jabs are also allegedly being provided to certain private institutions at exorbitant rates. “We need not hundred but at least a thousand vaccination venues across Sindh, if we are to beat the ticking clock of doom. Which is why private hospitals and laboratories which have applied for setting up of vaccination centers in their respective hospitals should be approved on an emergency basis. Most private clinics in Punjab, Islamabad and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have already been given approvals to set up vaccination centers, and Sindh should also follow suit,” the healthcare expert told The Express Tribune.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2021.