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Thursday January 20, 2022

Omicron variant: Pakistan to announce new vaccination policy today

No case of new COVID-19 variant Omicron has been reported in the country, says Dr Faisal Sultan

By Web Desk
November 30, 2021
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan. File photo
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan. File photo 

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan said that the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) authorities have finalised a massive vaccination plan which would be announced today.

The country’s top health official shared that the authorities are on alert and the NCOC has taken all hospitals and their staff on board to deal with any emergency situation that may arise.

"We cannot control the Omicron variant from coming to Pakistan, but we can control its impact by ramping up the immunisation process," he said, adding that no case of the new COVID-19 variant has been reported in the country.

"Our priority is those who have not been vaccinated at all."

“With more people immunized, we can control the impact. It is my appeal to the people to get vaccinated and follow SOPs," the health minister added.

Dr Faisal Sultan said that information on booster shots for those who are fully vaccinated will be shared at the NCOC meeting.

Speaking to Geo News, Dr Sultan explained that the virus is detected by examining the spike protein for certain mutations that could be concerning.

He said that the available information [regarding Omicron] at the moment is based on assumptions. However, he said that after observing South Africa’s surge in infections, it has been established that the new strain’s transmissibility is faster than any previously detected variant of COVID-19.

He also said that any information regarding disease severity and the ability of the virus to "escape" the immune response in vaccinated or recovered people is still not confirmed.

While sharing details about the travel restrictions, Dr Sultan said that it has been a challenge to locate the origin of the flights since the beginning of the pandemic.

"Travel restrictions have not served as a means to control the virus. We can delay it [Omicron] but we cannot prevent it from coming to Pakistan."

Dr Sultan said that the NCOC has taken all hospitals and their staff on board to deal with any emergency situation that may arise in the country.