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April 8, 2021

Vaccination of prisoners of 50 years and above starts in Sindh’s 22 jails

Karachi

April 8, 2021

Sindh’s health authorities on Wednesday started inoculating prisoners of 50 years of age and above at all the 22 prisons in the province against Covid-19, while jail staff and officials in the same age group were also given the jab.

“We have started vaccinating around 2,500 prisoners of 50 years of age and above all over the province from today (Wednesday). In addition to them, we are also giving the jabs to the prison staff and officials in the same age group,” an official of the health department told The News.

There are over 18,000 inmates in 22 jails of Sindh, of whom around 2,500 are of 50 years of age or above, officials say, adding that prisons in the provinces have a total capacity of 13,000 prisoners.

The official maintained that the drive to vaccinate the prisoners had been started on the directives from Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho, who wanted all the prisoners in the vulnerable age group to be vaccinated as early as possible.

He added that as soon as vaccination was allowed for all age group people, the remaining prisoners would also be vaccinated. According to the official, the vaccination drive in the prisons had started simultaneously in the entire province, and on Wednesday dozens of prisoners were inoculated in three jails in Karachi and elsewhere till Kashmore.

“We have supplied the vaccine to all the districts in the province and DHOs have been assigned the task to inoculate the prisoners in their respective district jails as early as possible.”

Dr Pechuho has issued very clear directives to give priority to prisoners who largely remain ignored during such epidemics or pandemics. During the campaign, some 600 jail officials who are 50 years old and above will also be vaccinated.

The health department had earlier announced vaccinating prisoners over the age of 50 starting on April 7. According to the officials during the first phase of the drive, prisoners in the age group of 50 and above will receive their shots from the 7th of this month, under which more than 2,500 inmates will be vaccinated.

“Although the Sindh prisons largely remained unaffected during the third wave, the authorities decided to take preemptive move amid a growing number of cases in other parts of the country,” said a jail official.

“It was the second wave when the number of active coronavirus cases in Sindh’s prisons had risen from 31 to 112 in a span of 10 days. The situation had led to some major steps, which included restrictions on family visits for inmates to once in 10 days. Earlier, prisoners were allowed to meet their families twice a week.”

He said the jail administration was taking all due measures and strictly following the identified by the health authorities. Under the defined rules, he said, every new inmate was quarantined for 14 days, and test reports typically came in two days.