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Pakistan allows booster shots for healthcare workers, people over 50 amid new variant fears

Updated 01 Dec, 2021
The NCOC issued strict directives to all provinces and authorities to ensure that people get themselves vaccinated. File photo
The NCOC issued strict directives to all provinces and authorities to ensure that people get themselves vaccinated. File photo

By BR Web Desk

Pakistan has approved booster shots of coronavirus vaccines for healthcare workers, immunocompromised people and those aged over 50 years, amid the spread of the Omicron variant in other countries.

This was decided during a meeting of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Wednesday which discussed the new Omicron variant. The meeting decided that the shots would be free and administered six months after the last vaccine dose.

However, the statement by the NCOC does not reveal which vaccine has been approved for booster shots. The meeting was informed that 40 call centres have been established across the country to contact those who have not yet received second doses of the vaccine, Aaj News reported.

The NCOC issued strict directives to all provinces and authorities to ensure that people get themselves vaccinated.

Earlier, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar had warned that Omicron will come to Pakistan, urging everyone to get themselves vaccinated immediately.

Addressing a presser alongside Special Assistant to PM on Health Dr Faisal Sultan on Monday, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) head talked about the new variant, saying that it was not possible from preventing Omicron from spreading as the world is so interconnected.

The minister said that the cases were only reported in those countries where people had not vaccinated themselves. Umar further said that the only solution was vaccination, adding that Pakistan has a few weeks to get its citizens vaccinated and prevent the new variant.

On Tuesday, the Government of Sindh issued new coronavirus guidelines applicable across the province from December 1 (today) till December 15. The provincial government in a notification said that markets and business activities will be closed across the province by 10 pm, while essential services — pharmacies, medical facilities, vaccination centers, petrol pumps, CNG stations, and others — are allowed to function 24/7.

Offices will be allowed to function at routine hours at 100 percent capacity. However, only fully vaccinated employees can attend.

All education institutes can operate at 100% attendance. Schools have been asked to focus on the vaccination of students above 12 years of age, the notification said.

Indoor and outdoor dining will be only allowed to vaccinated individuals until midnight.

This article was first published in Business Recorder on Dec 1, 2021.