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PMA urges the federal government to take all stakeholders on board for the COVID vaccine

KARACHI: The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) urged the federal government to take the PMA and other stakeholders on board before procuring the coronavirus (COVID-1) vaccine.

As you know, the PMA is a representative body of the medical fraternity, so we ask the government to inform us which COVID-19 vaccines they have decided to import and what efficacy these vaccines would have.

According to the received information, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has approved AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, manufactured by India. Pakistan will acquire this vaccine through COVAX, which is a global Alliance for vaccine support. The alliance includes Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and World Health Organization. COVAX has promised to provide free vaccines for 20% of the population of around 190 countries, including Pakistan.  

The PMA wants to know the dosage of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine and whether it will be administered once in life, once a year, or more than that. The PMA and other stakeholders should be taken on board by the government. Healthcare workers both from the public and private sector should be administered the vaccine on a priority basis.

Up till now, 175 doctors and 30 paramedics have lost their lives due to COVID-19. Most deceased doctors are ENT specialists, pathologists, general practitioners, physicians, pediatricians, gynecologists, ophthalmologists, anesthesiologists, and dentists. All these doctors were affected while examining their patients because they did not know the patient they were examining was COVID positive or not.  

Unfortunately, when a doctor gets positive, even he does not know where to go for treatment. No beds are reserved for doctors in any corona designated hospitals. There is no policy for taking care of healthcare workers who are the frontline soldiers in the war against the coronavirus.

So many countries of the world have started vaccinating their people. Even India has started the world’s largest coronavirus vaccination drive under which more than 300 million people will be vaccinated; on the other hand, Pakistan might get the first consignment of the free vaccine from COVAX in the second quarter of 2021.  

Unfortunately, we do not see any such planning for vaccinating people at the end of our government. This planning should be initiated urgently, the first phase of the vaccination drive should be chalked out, lists of medics and paramedics should also be prepared for vaccination. Public awareness campaigns for this vaccine should also be launched through the media to prepare people to get vaccinated.    

The PMA demanded that the government should expedite the process of acquiring vaccine for COVID-19; healthcare workers both from the public and private sector should be administered vaccine on a priority basis. People above the age of sixty suffering from diabetes, hypertension, cancer, or any other uncompromised diseases should also be vaccinated on a priority basis, along with people above seventy with no diseases. Public awareness campaigns for this vaccine should also be launched through media to prepare people to get vaccinated and provide free vaccines to the country’s whole population.

-MN Report 

January 20, 2021

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