Covid-19 vaccine will be available in March 2021, says P&SHC secretary

LAHORE: Following the federal cabinet’s decision to purchase the Covid-19 vaccine from a Chinese company and regarding its purchase and availability, Punjab Primary and Secondary Healthcare (P&SHC) Secretary Captain (r) Muhammad Usman on Thursday said that work is underway on the purchase and it will be available by March 2021.

According to sources, the federal government has started preliminary preparations for the first phase of the Covid-19 vaccination campaign, and in this context, the federal government has sought details of health workers from all the provinces, and Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB).

The federation has also sought data from the provinces on the staff of hospitals allocated for coronavirus treatment and the data of health workers provided by the provinces will be scrutinised in the preparation of the final list.

In the first phase – which is expected in early March – the staff of public and private Covid-19 wards will be vaccinated.

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Moreover, suggestions on the Covid-19 vaccination campaign have also been sought from the provinces as, currently, 726 public and private hospitals across the country are dedicated to treating coronavirus.

Sources claimed that Covid-19 vaccination of healthcare workers across the country will be done in two parts. In the first, more than 500,000 health workers will be vaccinated while the process of vaccination of the remaining health workers will be completed later on.

Furthermore, healthcare workers will be immunised with two Covid-19 vaccines according to international standards and in this regard, 1.2 million coronavirus vaccines will be procured from Sinopharm Group.

It is pertinent to mention here that the first case of coronavirus was reported in the provincial capital on March 14, 2020, after which the Punjab Health Department set up field hospitals, quarantine centres and focal hospitals and a lockdown was imposed by the government.

Meanwhile, OPDs and operating theatres in hospitals, including educational and business establishments, had to close.

Moreover, during the first wave of coronavirus, the rate of ventilators and oxygen beds in Lahore hospitals reached 95 per cent in June, followed by a significant decline in patients in July and August.

According to statistics, more than 137,000 cases of coronavirus were reported in Punjab while more than 3900 patients died and more than 122,000 patients recovered.

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Shahab Omer
The writer is a member of the staff and can be reached on [email protected]

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