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Karachi Faces Covid Vaccines Shortage Amid Vaccination Boom

Amid a surge in Covid vaccination in the port city, a shortage of the Sinopharm, Sinovac, and AstraZeneca vaccines was witnessed on Thursday.

The Sindh Health Department officials said that vaccine reserves have been exhausted at Expo Centre, Dow Ojha Hospital, and Sindh Government Children Hospital, while supplies to inoculation centres at New Karachi, Liaquatabad, and Lyari have been suspended.

The officials said the first dose of Sinopharm, Sinovac, and AstraZeneca vaccines are not being administered, while a sparse number of jabs were available for those seeking a second dose.

The majority of the people are being administered the Moderna vaccine, they said. The health department officials said people have started visiting nearby and drive-through vaccination centres after the government had increased the number of inoculation centres. It will take at least a week for more vaccine doses to arrive in the province, they said.

Pakistan on Thursday confirmed 5,661 new coronavirus cases, up from 4,722 reported a day before, according to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC).

The figure, which has been the highest since April 23, pushed the total caseload to 1.053 million. There were 60 new deaths as well, taking the overall fatality count to 23,635.

The soaring cases, fuelled by the highly transmissible Delta variant, have put the country’s health infrastructure under extreme pressure. The new requirement for certificates of vaccination, however, has led to a rush of people seeking to get inoculated.

Last week, the government announced that from the end of this month workers in schools and hospitality businesses, among others, would be barred from entering public offices unless they are vaccinated.

In Sindh province, government servants have been warned that their salaries can be withheld, and cell phone SIM cards blocked if they do not have the required certificates.

During the past 24 hours, a record 1.158 million doses were administered across the nation. In total, over 34 million doses have been given, but only 7 million of the country’s over 200 million people are fully vaccinated.

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