Sunday August 14, 2022

Citizens asked to get booster doses as Covid claims two lives in Sindh

July 01, 2022

Authorities in Pakistan advised all citizens of 12 years and above, including healthcare workers and immunocompromised people, to get their first or second booster dose if they are fully vaccinated after two more persons died due to Covid-19 and hospitalisation started to increase in the country, especially at Karachi’s hospitals.

The highest number of cases were reported from Karachi where, despite an increase in the number of tests, Covid-19 positivity remained 19.09 per cent after 390 people tested positive when 2,043 tests were conducted in the city, health authorities said and added that two more persons died due to coronavirus complications in the country during the last 24 hours.

“Both the deaths were reported from Sindh, one each from Karachi and Hyderabad. Around 17 more people were hospitalised in Karachi alone due to Covid-19 while hospitalisation is also on the rise in Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Lahore,” said an official at the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) at the National Institute of Health (NIH) Islamabad said.

Commenting on the situation, Dr Rana Muhammad Safdar, former director general health and now lead strategic adviser at the US-CDC, said consistent Covid-19 surge went unabated with doubling time of around five days. “Hospitalisation with Covid-19 has started increasing as expected and deaths are also being reported.”

Health authorities in Karachi said all the major tertiary-care health facilities in the metropolis and other major cities of Sindh had been directed to start admitting Covid patients and make their intensive care units (ICUs) functional to take care of those who required high and low flow oxygen support or mechanical ventilation.

On the other hand, the NCOC issued revised guidelines for Covid-19 vaccination, advising all persons of 12 years of age and above to get the first or second booster dose of the Covid vaccine to protect themselves from the severe disease during the ongoing wave of the pandemic.

“The current vaccination coverage of the Pakistan population is over 86 per cent due to successive vaccination drives all over the country. With the continuing Covid-19 pandemic situation, we are cognizant of the need and rationale for additional/ booster doses to ensure control of disease transmission. In this regard, the expert committee has recommended first and second booster doses for all citizens of 12 years and above, all healthcare workers and immunocompromised people,” the NCOC guidelines said.

The guidelines said citizens with travel requirements can get one or two additional doses of vaccine free of cost with a minimum gap of 21/28 days from previous dose. As per timing and interval recommendations, it is recommended that the persons receiving this vaccine dose should have received the last vaccine more than five months while those recovering from recent Covid-19 infection may wait for 28 days before getting a booster dose.

Similarly, all the citizens of 12 years of age and above, all healthcare workers and immunocompromised persons of all eligible age groups are eligible for the second booster dose, the NCOC guidelines said, recommended that the persons receiving second booster dose should have received the last vaccine more than four months ago.

Regarding the vaccine type, the NCOC guidelines said the booster/additional dose may be the same as the initial vaccine or a different vaccine as available. “At the moment, no benefit of third booster dose or 5th vaccine dose has been found in preventing from Covid-19,” an official of the NCOC said.