Islamabad, May 13 (Dawn) – The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Wednesday decided to begin Covid-19 vaccination registration for people in the age bracket of 30 to 40 years after Eidul Fitr as the number of infections continues to decline.
The country, however, might be faced with a major challenge soon after the festival as it did last year when a huge spike in cases was witnessed.
Minister of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said due to availability of sufficient doses, it had been decided to expand the vaccine outreach to other age groups.
“As vaccine supply continues to improve and vaccination capacity gets enhanced in all Federating units, we continue to expand the categories of those who are eligible to get vaccinated. Starting Sunday the 16th of May, registration will be open to all 30 years and older citizens,” Asad Umar, who also heads the NCOC, announced in a tweet.
An official of the Ministry of National Health Services, who is not authorised to talk to media, said 22 million people fell in the age bracket of 30 to 40 years.
“The number of people over 50 years is 27 million and around 12 million are in the age bracket of 40 to 50 years. Overall 61 million people have been allowed to get themselves registered for vaccination. As many as 39 million people can avail the walk-in facility at the centre of their choice,” he said.
It is worth mentioning here that from May 12, all those aged 40 and above, who have registered, have been allowed to walk into any vaccination centre of their choice and get inoculated.
The official said registration of over 30-year age group would start from May 16 and as soon as a considerable number of people get listed, vaccination process would start.
“There are around 40 million people in the age bracket of 18 to 30 and the NCOC is trying to allow their registration at the earliest,” he said.
Replying to a question, the official said Pakistan was making arrangements to procure more vaccines from China and the Accountant General of Pakistan has released $6 million for one million more doses of Sinovac vaccine.
“By the end of the current month, production of the vaccine will also start at the National Institute of Health. Moreover, we will get millions of doses under Covax in the coming months,” he added.
It is worth mentioning here that the international alliance, Covax, has pledged to provide free of cost vaccine for 20 per cent population of Pakistan.
Replying to another question, the official said though cases were reducing, Eid would be a huge challenge as a large number of people, despite restriction and appeals by the government, would travel to their native areas to celebrate the festival.
“Moreover, as it is natural, youngsters would have already started planning tours and picnics on Eid days. Last year we observed a spike after Eid so we are also expecting the same again. That is why we have appealed to all administrative units to minimise movements and take strict action. We hope that even if cases start to rise, it would be nominal,” he added.
According to the NCOC data, 2,869 cases and 104 deaths were reported in a single day.