Sindh CM Minister Murad Ali Shah. PHOTO: ONLINE

Sindh to vaccinate 100,000 people daily

Health dept told to increase capacity at Expo Centre to 50,000 vaccinations a day

Our Correspondent May 11, 2021

Restricting people to their houses is not enough to contain Covid-19, warned Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah. He ordered the health department to increase vaccination its capacity to 100,000 people a day.

Chairing a meeting of the provincial taskforce on coronavirus, he said mass inoculation was the need of the hour. He directed the health department to increase vaccination capacity to 50,000 jabs a day at the Expo Centre.

Besides, he said mass inoculation centres must be set up in other districts. He directed all Covid vaccination centres in Sindh to remain operational during Eidul Fitr holidays.

The provincial health department was further directed to install oxygen plants at five tertiary care hospitals. The meeting noted that the Eid holidays were critical as the situation may be aggravated if large gatherings and socialising occur on the festive occasion.

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Mass inoculation

The health department has revealed that anti-Covid jabs will be available for citizens under 40 years of age from May 16 onwards.

Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho informed the meeting that a vaccination centre has been set up for this purpose at the Expo Centre where the provincial government will be providing the Covax, Cansino, Oxford AstraZeneca and Sinopharm vaccines. The facility has been equipped to vaccinate 25,000 to 30,000 people a day.

Earlier, speaking at the inauguration on Sunday, Dr Pechuho advised citizens to approach the centre if there was any confusion regarding registrations. “There, a trained member of staff will administer the vaccine to you,” she said.

She added that her department was vying for the speedy procurement of anti-Covid jabs so that the maximum number of people could be vaccinated. According to Dr Pechuho, the National Command and Operation Centre has stated that it would be procuring 70 million vaccination doses by the year’s end for the entire country.

“We are ready to give money to the federal government so that it may procure the vaccines at fixed prices and provide them to Sindh,” added the provincial health minister.

The Sindh government had earlier allocated funds worth Rs1.5 billion to procure anti-Covid jabs independently. Meanwhile, at the meeting on Monday, Sindh Health Secretary Kazim Jatoi told the meeting that the provincial government has received 862,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine out of which 633,402 have been utilised. Besides, 11,000 doses of the single-dose Cansino vaccine, 80,000 of Sinovac and 107,500 doses of the Oxford-AstraZaneca vaccine have also been utilised.

All of the Cansino doses have been utilised, he said, adding that 61,200 Sinovac jabs and 1,480 Oxford-AstraZaneca shots have been administered thus far.

The CM directed the health department to increase the Expo Centre’s vaccination capacity to 50,000 shots a day. Moreover, he issued directives for a mass vaccination centre to be established in Hyderabad. Similar arrangements may be made in Sukkur, Mirpurkhas and Larkana, the meeting was told.

The health department was also directed to keep the vaccination centres open during the Eid holidays.

Third wave

The meeting was informed that the third wave of the coronavirus began in Sindh on April 9 when 314 new infections were detected. Infections peaked on May 5 with the emergence of 1,110 fresh cases and now there appears to be a downward trend of positive cases - 911 new cases were detected on May 7 and 976 on May 9, it was said.

Talking of the Covid trend in Sindh over the past month, the health secretary said coronavirus-related deaths increased from two on April 9 to 24 on May 5. Now a decline in fatalities has been observed with 16 deaths reported on May 9, he said.

The CM was informed that 52 out of 536 ICU beds are occupied and 278 out of 1,453 HDU beds are occupied. Besides, 38 of the 442 other hospital beds are occupied.

“The Eid holidays are critical. If people fail to follow SOPs, it would aggravate [the situation] further,” said the CM. He urged people to avoid large gatherings and mingling with friends and family on Eid. Instead, he advised citizens to celebrate Eid with simplicity and avoid socialising.

Moreover, the meeting was apprised that the daily oxygen production in Sindh is at 798MT per day while the demand for it is 724.6 MT per day. These figures include 534.8 MT for health care, 113.8 for industries and 69.85 for distributors.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 11th, 2021.