Sindh allows Pfizer booster shots amid Omicron concerns

Individuals fully vaccinated against Covid-19 can get free-of-cost booster jab, says provincial health secretary


News Desk November 28, 2021
Sindh Health Secretary Zulfiqar Ali Shah says all fully vaccinated individuals can get booster jab which will be provided free-of-cost. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

As the world governments including Pakistan rush to contain Omicron, a new heavily mutated Covid-19 strain, the government of Sindh on Sunday allowed the administration of Pfizer booster shot aimed at curtailing the spread of the new strain.

Sindh Health Secretary Zulfiqar Ali Shah said that a decision in this regard has been taken by the provincial government and a notification will be issued soon, Express News reported.

He said that all fully vaccinated individuals can avail the facility which will be provided free-of-cost by the Sindh government, adding that the decision was taken amid fears of a new Covid-19 wave in the province.

Read more: Govt bans travel from Omicron-hit region

Zulfiqar said that currently, Pfizer vaccine is only available at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) and Dow University of Health Sciences' (DUHS) Ojha campus. However, he added, efforts were being made to make booster shots available in other health facilities of the province as well.

The variant, now known as Omicron, has cast doubt on global efforts to fight the pandemic because of fears that it is highly infectious, forcing countries to reimpose measures many had hoped were a thing of the past.

Scientists are racing to determine the threat posed by the heavily mutated strain – particularly whether it can evade existing vaccines.

Several countries have also announced plans to restrict travel from southern Africa, where it was first detected. On Saturday, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) banned the entry of travellers from South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Botswana and Hong Kong.

Read more New Covid variant triggers global alarm as WHO urges caution

Planning Minister Asad Umar, who heads the NCOC, confirmed the restrictions on travel from six South African countries and Hong Kong, said stressed that the emergence of the new variant further underscored the urgency to vaccinate all eligible citizens.

“Based on the emergence of the new Covid variant, notification has been issued to restrict travel from 6 South African countries and Hong Kong,” Umar said in a tweet. “The emergence of new variant makes it even more urgent to vaccinate all eligible citizens 12 years and older,” he added.

 

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