Planning minister urges people to register via phone or website and get inoculated at any vaccination center
The National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) on Friday announced it was commencing walk-in vaccinations for all citizens aged 30 and over, provided they have already registered for the inoculations via SMS at 1166 or the NIMS web portal.
“In the NCOC meeting today it was decided to open up walk in vaccination for 30-plus from tomorrow,” Planning Minister Asad Umar, who also heads the NCOC, said in a posting on Twitter. “So if you are 30 or older and registered please go to any vaccination center and get vaccinated,” he added.
The move comes in the same week that the NCOC decided to commence registrations for COVID-19 vaccinations of all Pakistanis aged 19-and-up—covering all adults that are slated to be covered in the government’s ongoing vaccination drive.
Pakistan launched its vaccination drive in February, prioritizing frontline healthcare workers in the first phase. The program was expanded to include the elderly in March, people over 50 in April, and people over 30 in May. Thus far, according to the NCOC, 6,709,848 doses of various vaccines have been administered nationwide, with roughly 1.6 million people fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, roughly 2.29 percent of the 70 million targeted.
Special Assistant to the P.M. on Health Dr. Faisal Sultan had earlier announced that the government aims to vaccinate 70 million people by the end of this year—believed to be sufficient to achieve partial “herd immunity.” He had also confirmed that the country’s vaccination drive would only cover 110 million people in total, as the rest of the population was aged below 18 and was not yet approved for vaccinations by global health authorities.
There are concerns among healthcare experts that the NCOC’s decisions appear to suggest vaccine hesitancy, as it keeps expanding coverage before ensuring the previously eligible demographics have been fully vaccinated. However, supporters of the government maintain this proves the success
On Friday, Pakistan reported 2,482 new cases of COVID-19 after conducting 51,625 tests for a positivity ratio of 4.8 percent. The NCOC has started to ease restrictions imposed earlier this month amidst a surge of new infections, though the Sindh government is retaining strict protocols for two more weeks in light of the virus surging there following the Eidul Fitr break.