Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho said on Wednesday that instead of establishing mass Covid-19 vaccination centres (CVCs), they were establishing adult vaccination centres at district, taluka hospital and basic health unit levels, and urged the elderly people to avail the walk-in facility to get themselves vaccinated at the earliest.

“Instead of setting up large vaccination centers, we are establishing small centres like we have established one at the Arts Council of Pakistan (ACP). We have so far established over 30 vaccination centres in different districts of Karachi alone so that people could get vaccinated closer to their abodes without any hassle or fatigue,” she said while addressing a news conference after inaugurating the vaccination centre at the Arts Council.

Accompanied by Parliamentary Secretary for Health Qasim Soomro, Secretary Health Dr Kazim Jatoi, Project Direct EPI Dr Akram Sultan and President ACP Ahmed Shah, Dr Pechuho said lives of writers, artists and poets were equally important and most of them were elderly and vulnerable, so they had decided to set up a vaccination centre at the Arts Council to facilitate them.

Responding to a query regarding allowing the private sector hospitals and labs to establish vaccination centres and import vaccines, she said the federal government alone could not acquire enough vaccines to provide herd immunity in the country; hence, everybody should work together and strive to play their role in getting the people vaccinated against Covid-19.

“We are in talks with both Chinese and Russian firms for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines, but due to their limitations and other issues, we are unable to get the vaccines for the province. But we are still trying along with the private sector so that we could arrange the vaccine for the majority of our adult population,” the health minister said, adding they were also asking the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) to go ahead to procure vaccines directly from the manufacturers.

“Our vaccination centres have been set up everywhere. The more people get vaccinated, the more we can prevent this epidemic. This is the only solution to prevent Covid-19,” she said but added that even after vaccination, people would need to take care of themselves and follow the preventive measures.

She maintained that the outbreak of the disease appeared to be exacerbated in Lahore, so more tests were being conducted there. “The severity of the disease is low in our province. If the number of cases increases, the number of tests will also increase on a daily basis. We are trying to have a moral responsibility in this society so that no one’s rights are violated. The one who is most at risk should be protected first.”

Responding to a question, she said it may be decided to impose a lockdown in areas where the number of patients was increasing rapidly. On the occasion, President Arts Council Muhammad Ahmad Shah said the establishment of the Covid-19 vaccination centre was a gift for writers, poets, actors and members of the Arts Council.