Sindh Refuses NCOC Permission To Vaccinate Children
“We are not talking about the age group here anymore, all we are going to do is to vaccinate children all the 1.4 million and adolescents studying in IX to XII classes in Sindh to prevent them and their adult family members from contracting the viral infection,” he added.
By M. Waqar Bhatti
The Sindh government does not require the National Command and Operation Center’s (NCOC) permission to vaccinate its students of 9th to 12th classes against Covid-19, an official of the provincial government said on Tuesday.
“We don’t need the NCOC’s authorization to vaccinate our students of 9th to 12th grades. We didn’t seek NCOC’s permission to vaccinate people without CNICs while we also vaccinated inmates of our prisons without their consent.
We have to take the decision in the better interest of our people,” Qasim Soomro, MPA Sindh and Parliamentary Secretary on Health, told The News on Tuesday. Soomro maintained that they only need the parental consent to vaccinate children and added that all students, studying between 9th to 12th grades, irrespective of their age, would be vaccinated at their schools and colleges by vaccinators of the provincial health department.
When asked which vaccine would be used to vaccinate the teenagers as only Pfizer’s Comirnaty vaccine is authorized to vaccinate people of 12 years and above by Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), MPA Qasim Soomro said both Pfizer-BioNTech’s Comirnaty and Moderna’s Spikevax vaccines would be used to inoculate children and teenagers.
“We are not talking about the age group here anymore, all we are going to do is to vaccinate all the 1.4 million children and adolescents studying in IX to XII classes in Sindh to prevent them and their adult family members from contracting the viral infection,” he added.
The Sindh health department had announced on Monday to vaccinate around 1.4 million teenagers from September 6, 2021, for which over 2,500 teams of vaccinators would be deployed. According to an official of the Sindh health department, the decision was taken at a meeting between Sindh Health Minister Dr. Azra Pechuho and Education Minister Sardar Shah.
On the other hand, officials at the NCOC and National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHS,R&C) reiterated that Sindh cannot take the decision unilaterally, saying the decision to vaccinate a particular age group should be unanimous and in consultation with all the provinces and federating units.
They said vaccination of teenagers (17 to 18 years) would start in a couple of days, adding that Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 mRNA vaccine and Chinese Sinopharm vaccine are likely to be used to inoculate around 800,000 teenagers of this age group.
The federal health authorities said after vaccinating an estimated 0.8 million teenagers of 17 to 18 years, we would move to inoculate those falling in the age group of 15 to 17 years.
The Pfizer BioNTech’s Comirnaty is likely to be used to vaccinate them as it has been approved for everyone over 12 years, an official of the National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHS,R&C) told The News.
The official maintained that as China and the UAE have allowed Sinopharm vaccine for everyone over three years of age, Pakistan could also decide to use that for inoculating its teenagers and adolescents but added that the final decision is expected during National Command and Operation Center meeting.
Originally published at The news international