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Sindh asks Centre to act now to prevent Omicron variant’s entry into Pakistan

November 30, 2021
Sindh asks Centre to act now to prevent Omicron variant’s entry into Pakistan

Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho urged the federal government on Monday to take immediate measures for the prevention of the entry of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 in Pakistan by ensuring rapid antigen testing at all entry points, including airports, and to provide at least two million doses of Pfizer, Moderna and Astrazeneca vaccines to the province.

Addressing a news conference at the Sindh Assembly building in Karachi along with Parliamentary Secretary Health Qasim Soomro, she said that in order to combat this new variant, the federal government would have to take precautionary measures immediately, and rapid antigen tests must be carried out at the airports and all other points of entry into the country.

The Sindh government, Pechuho said, was ready to administer booster shots to people free of cost, but the province needed at least two million doses of Covid vaccines.

She said people who get infected with Covid despite having received the vaccine will have their genomic profiling done so as to ascertain which variant is present in our population and its probability.

Explaining the new variant, the health minister said the virus had mutated at 30 locations in its spikes, which meant that there could be a difference in its rate of infection and how it affected the human body in comparison to the previous variants.

“We have to practise precaution and show seriousness to protect ourselves and our society from this potential new Covid threat. Getting vaccinated and wearing masks are some of the more trusted ways to ensure that this infection does not spread.”

Pechuho announced that Covid-19 booster shots would be provided free of charge to the people; however, there was not enough stock of the vaccine to inoculate everyone, so the Sindh government had requested the federal government to supply one million doses of Pfizer, 500,000 doses of Astrazeneca and 500,000 doses of Moderna vaccines for this purpose.

She also stated that children above 12 years of age should be getting the Covid vaccine as well and they would be given the Pfizer vaccine. In response to a query about bogus vaccination cards, she said that the NIMS system ensured that no vaccine went unrecorded.

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