SAPM cites WHO to discourage ‘double locking’

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan on Thursday quoted the World Health Organisation and explained that there was no need for “double locking”, adding the WHO had also cautioned against the practice.

Double locking is the practice of obtaining two doses each from two different brands of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Speaking on a Geo News programme this morning, Dr Sultan said that countries should ensure complete vaccination (two doses) of their population from a single vaccine to ensure maximum coverage.

“If you have placed a lock on a door, and you overprotect it with another lock, then it’s just going to be a marginal gain,” he said, adding that from a public health perspective there was no need for “double locking”.

He underlined that vaccines ensure maximum protection from Covid infection, saying “the protection rate doesn’t get to zero, but chances for contracting a virus drop considerably.”

Dr Sultan emphasised that vaccines were the most important weapon against the coronavirus disease. He further said that the government has data on vaccine efficacy and failure rate, which will be made public in a day or two. “But let me tell you the results of the vaccine are really good,” he stressed.

In response to a question about fears of an uptick in Covid cases on Eidul Azha, he said that the upcoming festival should be celebrated in a “very limited and closed environment.”

Dr Sultan said the data available with the government clearly indicated that the fourth wave of Covid-19 was around the corner. “The overall positivity ratio has increased to five per cent, while in Karachi it had almost reached 19pc,” he said.

He said he was in agreement with the decisions taken by the Karachi administration of placing new restrictions to contain the spread of the virus. He said places where the virus was spreading warranted enhanced action. “We have also given data to respective administrations about Covid hotspots so they could impose smart lockdowns and restrictions.”

Responding to the recent surge in Covid cases ahead of Eidul Azha, Dr Sultan confirmed that “there will be a requirement of vaccination certificates for travel.”

Faisal Sultan has said that more restrictions will be imposed in the most affected areas of the country. Cases of coronavirus are relatively low compared to other provinces, he added.

The SAPM further said that vaccinated people will be allowed to visit tourist spots; however, warned that coronavirus related SOPs are being violated in Azad Kashmir election rallies.

“I believe until complete enforcement of SOPs is ensured, the disease is not going to die down and it will take too much time to vanish,” he maintained.

The health adviser explained that new Covid-19 variants, due to their “survival advantage”, transmit faster from one person to another. “First two variants were spreading but the new one is spreading quicker,” he warned.

Dr Sultan, however, added that no matter how fast a variant was spreading, “if precautionary measures are properly adopted then it remains in control.”

He also said that people at times get tired of following the SOPs and abandon precautionary measures subsequently, which contributes to the spike in cases.

Dr Sultan clarified that no vaccine was 100pc effective, “and it doesn’t mean that you will not get Covid if you are vaccinated,” adding that “every vaccine has a protection efficacy of about 80pc to 90pc.”

Furthermore, he said that the government has a portal where people could request for their data to be corrected on their vaccination certificate or any related document. “If somebody still faces a problem, then the NCOC is here to facilitate them,” he assured.

Earlier, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar Thursday urged people to get vaccinated against coronavirus and follow government issued guidelines against the disease.

Asad Umar, in a tweet, warned that hospitalization of coronavirus patients, as well as patients in critical care, are seeing a sharp rise in the country.

The federal minister further said that the Indian variant of coronavirus has caused devastation in countries in the region.

The NCOC head asked people to follow SOPs, get vaccinated and do not risk their and others lives.

It merits mention that Pakistan has reported 2,545 COVID-19 cases, the highest since late May as the number of positive cases has surged to 981,392. The nationwide tally of fatalities has jumped to 22,689 on Thursday.

According to the latest figures by the NCOC, 2,545 persons tested positive for Covid-19 in the past 24 hours.

Punjab remains the worst-hit province in terms of deaths followed by Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Till now 10,852 individuals have lost their lives to the epidemic in Punjab 5,647 in Sindh, 4,377 in KP, 787 in Islamabad, 596 in Azad Kashmir, 317 in Balochistan, and 113 in GB.

Furthermore, 351,006 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Sindh, 349,111 in Punjab, 139,960 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 84,083 in Islamabad, 28,588 in Balochistan, 21,481 in Azad Kashmir and 7,163 in Gilgit-Baltistan.

with additional input from INP

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