Govt launches COVID-19 vaccination of senior citizens

ISLAMABAD, Mar 10 (APP): The government on Wednesday launched the next phase of the COVID-19 vaccine in the country with the vaccination of citizens of 60 years and above.

According to an official of the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, the most senior citizens who have registered for vaccination will receive SMS with instructions on their mobile phones and the oldest persons will be vaccinated first.
The senior-most citizens will be the first ones to receive the doses of COVID-19 vaccine, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr Faisal Sultan said. He urged the healthcare workers and those eligible to get vaccinated to protect themselves as well as their loved ones.

“The vaccinations will be done in reverse order by age, which means the oldest person who has registered will be vaccinated first,” Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiative Asad Umar said, who is spearheading the country’s fight against the pandemic.

The health department started registration of those 60 years and above for the immunization programme from February 15 asking the citizens to send a text message at 1166 or enter their details at the national immunization management system (NIMS) website.

Once registered, the eligible citizens will be informed about the vaccine centre and the date of vaccination through a text message, the officials said.

The government launched the COVID-19 vaccine drive in early February beginning with the healthcare workers in the first phase after receiving 500,000 Sinopharm doses from China. At least 25 per cent of the 400,000 registered doctors, nurses and paramedical staff registered have been vaccinated.

The official said under the GAVI-COVAX programme for countries, Pakistan was also likely to receive 17 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by end of June. Seven million doses would be available in the first quarter and 10 million doses in the second quarter.

He said Pakistan was also in touch with other countries to get 73 million doses of the vaccine, which were likely to receive in the last quarter.

He said the government had completed training of vaccinators and other related staff while software had been developed for having daily figures of vaccination activities.

He said there was a procedure for vaccination of frontline healthcare workers like knowing eligibility from 1166, registration status from SMS and informing about vaccination centre and sate of vaccination. The eligible recipient should have a pin code and CNIC for the last stage of vaccination at the allocated vaccination centre.

He said the vaccination teams inform the recipient about the date and place of the second dose while there is 30 minutes monitoring of any side-effect after administration of the dose.