NDMA Instructs Health Officials To Issue New COVID Advisory
NIH officials stated that over 90% of local population has been immunised against COVID-19 using a combination of western, Chinese, and Russian vaccines.
Despite the emergence of a new wave in China and India, Pakistan’s health authorities have ruled out any imminent resurgence threat from COVID-19, according to reports, however, the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) has been advised to issue an advisory dealing with any emergency.
The National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) called a special meeting to discuss the possibility of the virus resurfacing following the discovery of its sub-variant BF.7, which has affected China and India. Lt. General Inam Haider Malik, Chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), presided over the meeting.
In a briefing for the session, National Institute of Health (NIH) officials stated that over 90% of the local population has been immunised against COVID-19 using a combination of western, Chinese, and Russian vaccines. Authorities, on the other hand, are constantly monitoring the situation and preparing for any eventuality.
They stated that the emergence of sub-variants of the Omicron variant is a common occurrence and that more such variants and sub-variants will continue to emerge as viruses evolve for survival, adding that some wavelets may be possible as viruses and variants evolve. Hundreds of research and diagnostic labs across the country now have genome sequencing capabilities.
Furthermore, a comprehensive surveillance system is in place to detect any new variant or sub-variant of the COVID-19 virus at international airports and other entry points into the country, according to an expert affiliated with NIH Islamabad, who also stated that major hospitals in the country were prepared to deal with any resurgence in COVID-19 cases.
The NDMA chairman directed federal and provincial authorities to ensure that treatment facilities are available in intensive care units (ICUs) and high dependency units (HDUs) at healthcare facilities across the country. He also directed the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) at NIH to issue advisory and guidelines to deal with any emergency related COVID.
An NIH official explained herd immunity as a community becoming immune to infectious disease when 70% to 80% of the population develops immunity through vaccination or disease contracting. After herd immunity is achieved, there is no chance of disease spreading from person to person. Following herd immunity, the entire community is protected, not just those who are immune.
Pakistan has technically achieved herd immunity because over 90% of its population has been immunised with various western, Chinese, and Russian vaccines up to the age of 12 years. Furthermore, the majority of Pakistanis had developed natural immunity after being infected with the virus once or more in recent years, according to the NIH official.
Dr Iqbal Chaudhry, Director of the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), Karachi, stated that the emergence of BF.7 and other sub-variants would have little impact on Pakistan and India because both countries had achieved herd immunity through vaccination and infection with various variants of COVID-19.
China’s case is unique in that it has never allowed its people to develop immunity. Furthermore, Chinese citizens are only vaccinated with their own vaccines, which are less effective against emerging variants, he added.