NCOC unveils national strategy for vaccinations, notifying registration process for all eligible citizens
Planning Minister Asad Umar on Wednesday announced that the government had already established hundreds of vaccination centers nationwide and would start administering coronavirus vaccines to frontline healthcare workers from next week.
In a posting on Twitter, he said that the “system for vaccination” was now in place, hours after the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) unveiled its coronavirus vaccination strategy. Last week, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi announced that China had promised to “gift” an initial 500,000 doses of an unidentified vaccine to Pakistan, adding that this would be airlifted into the country by Jan. 31. Special Assistant to the P.M. on Health Dr. Faisal Sultan, meanwhile, has reiterated that the government aims to provide vaccines to all eligible Pakistani citizens “free of cost.”
The Drug and Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has already approved three vaccines for emergency use—China’s Sinopharm, U.K.’s Oxford-AstraZeneca, and Russia’s Sputnik-V.
Earlier, the NCOC unveiled the national plan for vaccinations, adding that it had been formulated in consultation with all provinces and stakeholders. Adopted during a meeting of the forum in Islamabad, the plan envisages the National Immunization Management System conducting the nationwide drive through a National Vaccine Administration and Coordination Cell set up at the NCOC.
“All citizens, including frontline healthcare workers, will be able to register by sending their ID card number to 1166 via SMS or NIMS website,” read a statement issued after the meeting. “The goal of the vaccine strategy is to vaccinate people under an integrated system,” it added.
The vaccination strategy, as revealed on Wednesday, is as follows:
- In the first step, frontline healthcare workers and at-risk citizens would submit their CNIC numbers to 1166 via SMS or through the National Immunization Management System’s website for official registration.
- After the submitted data has been verified, the citizens will be directed to a designated adult vaccination center closest to their “present address” and provided a PIN code. If the designated center is outside the current location of any citizen, they can either call the 1166 helpline or visit the NIMS website to request a different facility within 5 days of receipt of the first SMS.
- Once a vaccine is available at their designated vaccination center, citizens will be sent a SMS to set an appointment date for their vaccination.
- On the scheduled date of appointment, citizens will be required to visit the designated vaccination center with their original CNIC and PIN code, which would be verified by on-site staff.
- Following successful verification of all data, citizens will be vaccinated, and be sent a SMS confirming their inoculation. All citizens are required to wait on-site for 30 minutes after being administered the vaccines for post-inoculation monitoring.
- The government would monitor the vaccination drive in real-time through a dashboard that would be updated as more people are vaccinated.
According to Dr. Sultan, the government has already registered 400,000 health workers for vaccination in the first phase.