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Prioritizing Frontline Workers Punjab to Begin Corona Vaccination Within 2 Days

-- Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid says in three to four months, adequate vaccine will be available for public

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LAHORE– Punjab Health Minister Dr Yamsin Rashid said here on Monday that Punjab will start vaccinating people for Corona in the next two day. Speaking at a Press Conference at the Directorate General Health Services Punjab here on Monday, the Health Minister said that Corona virus was very much here and people must follow safety precautions.

In the last 24 hours, as many as 443 people tested positive and 11 people lost their lives. The positivity ratio in Lahore was 3.95 %, 1.9 % in Rawalpindi, 3.39 % in Faisalabad and in the last 24 hours, 15,000 Corona tests were performed. 

Present on the occasion were Secretary Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department Captain (Retd) Usman Younis, Special Secretary Specialized Healthcare and Medical Education Department SIlwat Saeed, Director Electronic Media DGPR Rubina Afzal.

The Health Minister said that Punjab has the highest ratio of Contact Tracing across the country. The entire world has appreciated Pakistan’s efforts of controlling the Corona Pandemic. There were 18 lockdowns in Lahore, one in Gujranwala, one in Gujrat and similar lockdowns in different cities and movement of 5634 people have been restricted. The highest number of recovered patients have been reported from government hospitals of Punjab. All educational institutions have been opened up ensuring compliance with SOPs.

The Health Minister said, “The Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department shall organize awareness seminars in education institutions to create awareness on COVID-19. The situation of educational institutions shall be reviewed again on 8th February. China’s firm Sino Pharma has donated 500,000 doses of vaccines for Pakistan’s healthcare workers for which we are grateful to the Chinese government.

The first consignment of Corona Vaccine has reached Pakistan. We have been conveyed by the NCOC that all Chief Ministers shall simultaneously inaugurate vaccination in their respective provinces. Another good news was that Pakistan has bought 70 million doses of Corona vaccine and its supply will start from the current week. The NCOC technical team has appreciated the cold chain arrangements in Punjab.”

Secretary Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department Captain (Retd) Usman Younis said that Punjab has set up 189 vaccination center where complete data of people getting vaccination shall be saved. He said so far 400,000 frontline healthcare workers have been registered which include a large number of general practioners.

Gradually, the number of vaccination centers shall be increased. So far 600 people have been given training in all 36 districts of Punjab. Master Trainers have been trained. In the phase-1, the frontline workers giving treatment to Corona patients only shall be vaccinated. Currently there are 70,000 dozes and in the next 21 days the second consignment shall be received. Punjab has more than 2500 ice-lined refrigerators and the support of Punjab Police has also been sought for it logistics.

The Health Minister said that vaccine trials have been conducted with a Chinese firm and there results shall come within the next two weeks. Covex has pledged to give us free Corona vaccine for 20 % population which will arrive in Pakistan by the end of current month or March. The Govt of Pakistan has earmarked an amount of Rs. 1.08 billion for corona vaccine.

All frontline health workers working in public and private sector hospital shall be given vaccine and after them, senior citizens of over-65 age group shall be vaccinated. She said that in the next three to four months adequate amount of vaccine shall be available for all.

The Health Minister further said, “The Government has taken historic measures to bring improvement in health and education sectors. Our government has hired over 32,000 doctors, nurses, paramedical staff, male nurses pharmacists and physiotherapists. For Government hospitals, an amount of Rs. 42 billion has been allocated for procurement of medicines. There is no issue in the provision of medicines of TB, Hepatitis and HIV/AIDS.

For Public Sectors hospitals, biomedical equipment of Rs. 10 billion has been procured this year. Now patients must not face any difficulties as all requirement of resources have been fulfilled. Two surveillance teams have been constituted to ensure monitoring of healthcare services in Punjab hospitals.. These teams are headed by the Director General Health Services Dr. Haroon Jehangir and Additional Secretary Specialized Healthcare and Medical Education Dr. Asif Tufail. Monitoring of government hospitals on cleanliness, staff attendance and medicine availability and other indicators is underway. On negligence, the Medical Superintendent of Govt Shahahdra Teaching Hospitals, MS DHQ Hospital Sheikhupura and MS DHQ South Okara have been suspended.

Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar has directed stern action against staff showing negligence towards treatment of patients. All nursing schools of Punj have been upgraded to Nursing colleges and their stipends have been increased from 21,000 t 31,000. The seats of nurses have been increased from 1600 to 2350.”

Punjab Health Minister further said provision of best healthcare and education facilities is the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar. In Khyber Paktunkhwa, Universal Health Coverage has been provided to entire population and in Punjab by the end of 2021, all 29.3 million families shall be given Sehat Sahulat Card services.

Within the current fiscal year, all families of Dera Ghazi Khan and Sahiwal Divisions shall be provided Sehat Sahulat cards. All rumors on seats of medical colleges are baseless. She said Punjab has always played the role of elder brother. In all medial colleges of Punjab, there are 335 seats reserved for other provinces which makes the number of around three medical colleges.

The news of reduction of seats is false. Due to Shaikh Zayed hospital being handed back to the Federal government, 2 seats were reduced. We have quota of seats intact for Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, FATA and Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Similarly, the 55 seats of Gilgit Baltistan are still there. Adjustment have been made by increasing 2 seats elsewhere that were reduced in Shaikh Zayed Hospital. On Wednesday, Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar will formally inaugurate the vaccination of Corona in the province. The Corona vaccine has been donated to all provinces.

Responding to queries of journalists, the Health Minister said that Lahore has the highest number of COVID-19 patients in the province. She said the vaccine shall not be given to VIPs including herself, or any of the Department Secretary. The first priority, she added, is frontline workers. The entire world has praised our performance against the Pandemic. Last year, she added, Rs. 14 billion were spent on the treatment of the Corona patients and another Rs. 2 billion were earmarked for the Pandemic.

She said the government has set up 20 BSL-3 Labs and all Pakistani workers travelling abroad shall be vaccinated as well. Government of the Punjab ahs also allocated adequate amount for the procurement of Corona vaccine. After the registration of the vaccine, the private sector can also import vaccine. Police and journalists shall also be given corona vaccine. She said vaccine cannot be forcibly injected to someone.

She said one year was spent on understanding the virus therefore only after administering vaccine can the true impact be assessed. People can register themselves for Corona vaccine 1167. On another question, she said Opposition can never be okay with the government. She said the government was ensuring provision of vaccine to Sindh. China was providing all-out support to Pakistan. To another question, she added that Corona Vaccine may have mild side effects for some people.

For Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine campaign, there was no shortage of staff. For the TCV Campaign, the Specialized Healthcare and Medical Education Department has also provided support. The Sehat Sahulat Card holders can avail free healthcare services from 270 hospitals in Punjab. All Institutes of Cardiology have been empanelled. The Sehat Sahulat Card holders can avail free indoor facility including neurosurgery, C-Section, Dialysis and other diseases including Trauma.— HANDOUT