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NIH gets go-ahead to store Covid-19 vaccine

ISLAMABAD: In a major development on Wednesday, the district health department gave approval to store the Covid-19 vaccine to be acquired from Chinese state-owned company Sinopharm in the warehouse of the Expanded Programme of Immunisation (EPI) located at the National Institute of Health (NIH) and other facilities.

On the other hand, 137 more positive cases were reported from the federal capital, which recorded a positivity ratio of 1.9pc while 14,500 frontline workers have gotten themselves for the vaccination.

Moreover, Islamabad Healthcare Regulatory Authority (IHRA) has directed the healthcare facilities of the federal capital to register themselves by Feb 28.

An official of the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS), requesting not to be named, said the EPI had one of the best systems, across the globe, to store vaccine.

“As a huge quantity of Covid-19 vaccine will be imported, we have therefore quickly enhanced our EPI capacity that can hold 2-8 degrees centigrade Covid-19 vaccine for 20pc of the national population at any point in time. It means we have developed a capacity to store 50 million doses. Islamabad health department has issued a licence in this regard, stating that it is satisfied with the arrangements and capacity to store the vaccine. Moreover as some of the vaccines are stored at -70 degree celsius, we are also making arrangements to build a cold chain management system to store all sort of vaccines,” the official added.

Twin cities report 158 new infections; IHRA extends registration date of healthcare facilities

He said NIH Executive Director Maj Gen Aamer Ikram has been nominated the focal person to handle storage of vaccine.

When asked why the storage capacity had been built for only 20pc population, the official said it was sufficient as the vaccine would be contently consumed and replaced with fresh stocks.

“We have developed a software through which we will know how many doses of vaccine are available with different provinces and districts while sitting in Islamabad. Moreover, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir will also get supplies from Islamabad,” he added.

District Health Officer Dr Zaeem Zia told Dawn that as it was a requirement to get a licence/approval from the health department to store vaccine, NIH stores were inspected, and after getting a satisfactory report that the vaccine would not be damaged, an approval was issued, allowing EPI to stock the vaccine.

The EPI falls under the ambit of NIH. Dr Zia said around 6,000 samples were collected on Tuesday out of which 137 cases were confirmed, adding that the positivity rate was calculated at 1.9pc.

Replying to a question, he said 14,500 frontline workers had registered themselves for the vaccination in Islamabad with the countrywide registration surpassing the figure of 300,000.

Meanwhile, IHRA has directed all hospitals, clinics, laboratories and other facilities providing services in the field of healthcare to register themselves by Feb 28.

Rawalpindi

The number of patients fell in the garrison city as only 21 new cases surfaced on Wednesday. However, one person died while 25 recovered in the district.

Abdul Hameed, 67, a resident of Gujar Khan, was brought to Pims on Dec 19 where he died on Wednesday.

The district has 302 active patients at present, with 56 in hospitals and 246 home isolated.

A total of 56 patients are admitted to hospitals out of whom 10 are in Benazir Bhutto Hospital, 10 patients in Fauji Foundation Hospital, nine in Holy Family Hospital, three in Red Crescent Hospital, three in Hearts International Hospital and 21 being treated in Rawalpindi Institute of Urology.

Commissioner retired Capt Mohammad Mehmood told Dawn that 10 patients were in critical condition and on ventilator, 25 were on oxygen and 21 were stable.

He said 16,401 people tested positive for Covid-19 with 13,440 in Rawalpindi, 1,154 in Attock, 1,208 in Jhelum and 599 in Chakwal.

He said 701 people had died in Rawalpindi Division.

Taxila

Six more people tested positive on Wednesday, raising the tally to 1,157.

District Health Authority Chief Executive Dr Jawad Elahi said among six new cases, two each belonged to Attock city, Hazro and Fatehjang. He said the number of active patients in the district had surged to 71, adding that three suspected patients were also admitted to District Headquarters Hospital.

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