Pakistan's top official body to deal with the coronavirus crisis on Wednesday announced a comprehensive plan to administer the COVID-19 vaccine across the country to curb the pandemic.
The National Command and Control Centre (NCOC) has decided that the vaccine would be given through the National Immunisation Management System (NIMS) which will be operated by the National Vaccine Administration and Coordination Cell (NVACC), said officials.
The plan was unveiled at a meeting of the top body in Islamabad chaired by the Minister for Planning Asad Umar.
The meeting was informed that the NIMS is fully digital and appointments for vaccinations to the masses would be done automatically. The masses will send an SMS to 1166 or visit the NIMS website for registration, which will generate a PIN code and send it to the applicant with the address of a vaccination centre closer to home.
Special Assistant on National Health Services Dr Faisal Sultan said that the government will provide vaccines free of cost to the general public.
He said that in the first phase, frontline health workers will be vaccinated, while in the second phase, senior citizens will be administered with the anti-pandemic medicine. So far 400,000 health workers have been registered for vaccination, according to Sultan.
Pakistan has authorised the emergency use of three vaccines against coronavirus, including Russia''s Sputnik V and Chinese state-owned firm Sinopharm’s COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the NCOC also decided to stick to an earlier decision to reopen primary and elementary schools as well as universities from February 1.
Earlier, the secondary and higher secondary schools and colleges were reopened on January 18.
The developments came as 1,563 new patients were detected in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of cases to 537,477, according to the ministry of National Health Services. Another 74 people died in the last 24 hours, taking the COVID-19 toll to 11,450.