Vaccine shortage hit city as thousands throng centres

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With thousands of people thronging vaccination centres across the city, a shortage of the Sinopharm, Sinovac, and AstraZeneca vaccines is being witnessed, Sindh Health Department officials said on Thursday.

The health department officials said vaccine reserves have been exhausted at Expo Centre, Dow Ojha Hospital, and Sindh Government Children Hospital, while supplies to inoculation centres at New Karachi, Liaquatabad, and Lyari have been suspended.

The officials said the first dose of Sinopharm, Sinovac, and AstraZeneca vaccines are not being administered, while a sparse number of jabs were available for those seeking a second dose.

The majority of the people are being administered the Moderna vaccine, they said.The health department officials said people had started visiting nearby and drive-through vaccination centres after the government had increased the number of inoculation centres.It will take at least a week for more vaccine doses to arrive in the province, they said.

Vaccination centres have been overrun after the government announced penalties for the unvaccinated, including blocked mobile SIMs and barred access to offices, restaurants, shopping malls, and transport.

Queues for inoculations stretched more than a kilometre in some locations this week, in response to measures designed to help slow a Delta variant-fuelled surge in infections that has put pressure on Pakistan’s poor health infrastructure.

“I’m personally not scared of corona,” said banker Abdul Rauf as he stood in a queue at a vaccination centre in Karachi, with his mask down to his chin.

“Our salaries will be stopped, our SIMs will be blocked, so all these things are out there, so that’s why I got my second dose done.”

Earlier this week, Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination officials had said the federal government aims to procure more than 30 million more vaccine doses in August.

 

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