Islamabad vaccination centres face shortage of COVID-19 vaccines

ISLAMABAD – Islamabad vaccination centres on Friday faced shortage of COVID-19 vaccines due to delay in the supply by the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS).

Senior officials at the Ministry of NHS and District Health Office (DHO) informed The Nation that if the shortage continues and supply is not maintained, the authorities will have to close the vaccination activity till Monday.

According to an official communication seen by The Nation, the vaccination centres have said that there is a shortage of vaccine and a strategy is being made to address this shortage.

The health authorities at vaccination centres have been directed to continue vaccinating only second doses of the available vaccines, while the Sinopharm vaccine should not be administered as first dose.

Officials also said that so far in the capital vaccination centres, there are 15000 doses of SinoPharm vaccine left while 6000 doses of AstraZenca. Officials also said that there was no supply of locally formulated and packed vaccine PakVac as well.

Kamran Khushnud, a visitor at Tarlai vaccination centre, talking to The Nation said that he wanted to get the vaccine jab through a walk-in facility but was informed that there is no vaccine available.

He said that staff at the vaccination centre also did not confirm when the vaccines will arrive.

“Government is inviting the public for vaccination but there is no vaccine available in centres,” he said. He also said that he also didn’t get a vaccine from the designated vaccination centres of Rawalpindi.

A resident of Rawalpindi, Muhammad Mujtaba, said that he went to multiple vaccination centres in the Rawalpindi to get second dose of Sinovac, but he was returned without vaccination because there was no vaccine available.

“However, I got the second jab from the Federal Government Services (FGS) Polyclinic Hospital,” he said.

The DHO Islamabad when asked about the shortage of vaccine replied, “a little issue is there.”

Spokesperson Ministry of NHS Sajid Hussain Shah said that temporary delay in availability of vaccine is possible due to prevailing situation, however, as announced earlier the situation will improve soon.

He said that there is not any serious issue and different vaccination centres have different vaccines available.   

Earlier, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Faisal Sultan on Wednesday said that a COVID-19 vaccine shortage was a temporary issue and the situation is likely to improve after June 20.

He said that shortage of vaccines had been reported from some vaccination centres and authorities were working to ensure the supply of additional doses.

The SAPM on NHS said that there are more than 2,000 vaccination centres in the country and there may be a shortage of vaccines in some centres. SAPM on NHS also said that there are more than two million doses available in the country while a temporary gap will be filled soon. “Situation will improve after June,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) in a statement issued urged government to maintain the uninterrupted supply of vaccine at the centres. 

It said that the availability of vaccines should be ensured otherwise the vaccination process will get slow and it could take years to achieve the goal of vaccinating 75% population of the country.   

PMA also said that it advises people to get vaccinated as soon as possible and not listen or pay attention to misunderstandings and myths related to Covid-19 vaccine.

“It is not harmful in any way. The people who do not get them vaccinated could face the intricacy of the disease,” said the statement. 

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