Friday December 03, 2021

Punjab, Sindh hit by coronavirus vaccine shortages

Sindh and Punjab health departments say vaccinations to resume smoothly from June 20

By Web Desk
June 18, 2021
A health worker administers coronavirus vaccine to a person in Karachi. — PPI/File
A health worker administers coronavirus vaccine to a person in Karachi. — PPI/File

Two of Pakistan's most populated provinces, Sindh and Punjab, are facing a shortage of coronavirus vaccines, sources said Friday, with the country's total inoculations reaching a mere 2% of the total population so far.

The  situation in Lahore seems bleak, as according to sources in the Punjab Health Department, only four out of 23 vaccination centres are administering vaccines, adding that the number of vaccination centres had been reduced due to a shortage of the jabs.

Vaccines are now only being administered at Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute, Expo Centre, Minar-e-Pakistan, and Railway Dispensary.

The sources said prior to the shortage, 60,000-50,000 people were being inoculated daily, while on June 16, 35,625 jabs were administered, and on June 17, 23,425 people were inoculated.

Meanwhile, vaccine stocks have completely dried up in Bahawalnagar, while the stock in Gujranwala is expected to finish today.

The Punjab health department said, however, that vaccines would arrive on June 19, after which the vaccination process would resume as usual from June 20.

Nearly 40% of Sindh's vaccination centres halt inoculations

Similarly, in Karachi, the situation is just as worrying, as 90 COVID-19 vaccination centres have almost run out of vaccines, according to sources in the Sindh Health Department.

The sources said small vaccination centres in districts Korangi, Central, South, East, and West are all facing shortages.

In District East, there are 26 centres, while District West has 13, Central has 13, Malir has 8, Korangi has 8 and South has 22 centres.

The shortages pertain to AstraZeneca, the single-dose PakVac, and Sinovac, while Sinopharm has been reserved for people needing the second dose.

Overall in Sindh, 40% of the vaccination centres have halted the inoculation process due to a shortage, sources said, with the provincial health department saying that stocks would arrive soon, and the vaccination process would resume smoothly from June 20.

When are more doses arriving?

Meanwhile, sources in the federal ministry of health said around eight million coronavirus vaccine doses would reach the country from China between June 20 and 22, besides raw material for a further three million.

Sources said five million ready-made vaccines would arrive from China this month, while the raw material for three million doses of CanSino vaccine would reach Pakistan between June 21-22.

Meanwhile, on June 20, a consignment of 2.5 million Sinovac vaccine doses would arrive from China.