KARACHI: The Sindh government has decided to engage private hospitals and laboratories in its bid to initiate a mass coronavirus vaccination programme in the province.
The decision was taken during a meeting of the Sindh cabinet on Tuesday, presided over by Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah.
During the meeting, the coronavirus situation throughout the country and in the province came under discussion.
The Sindh cabinet decided to take measures to encourage the private sector to import the vaccine, allocate human resources to battle the pandemic and establish vaccination centers in the province, especially in Karachi.
The cabinet was informed by officials of the health department that the coronavirus response last year had been characterised by a mixed public-private system.
“The private health sector played a critical role in providing essential health services, especially when the public sector was so overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients,” read a statement from the Sindh government.
Mass vaccination of persons above 18 to begin in next phase
The statement noted that the provincial government had moved to vaccinate frontline healthcare workers when the first tranche of the Sinopharm vaccine was provided to Sindh.
As a next phase, the vaccination of people aged 60 years and above has been initiated.
The vaccination of people aged 18+ on a mass scale will begin in the subsequent phase.
The chief minister said that the government must seek the commitment, capability and capacity of the private sector to import COVID-19 vaccines “to fulfill this national duty most effectively and efficiently, for the relief of citizens and in a bid to help the country to return to normalcy.”
The chief minister directed the Sindh government to help the private health sector import coronavirus vaccines and called for a registration mechanism under the Sindh Health Care Commission so that everything, including the price of the vaccine, remains under control.