Pakistan makes vaccination mandatory for private, government employees

Islamabad, June 9 (EFE).- Ten million anti-coronavirus vaccine doses have so far been administered in Pakistan, authorities said on Wednesday, making immunization mandatory for government and private sector employees.

However, Pakistan still has a long way to go before it reaches the target of inoculating 70 million of the 220 million people in the country by the year-end, even as the third wave of the virus outbreak has started ebbing in the country.

Asad Umar, the minister in charge of supervising anti-Covid-19 operations, told reporters that more than 7 million people had received vaccine doses in the country.

A little over two and a half million people have received the necessary second vaccination dose, he said.

The minister said health officials were vaccinating some 300,000 people daily with Sinopharm, Sinovac, and Cansino vaccines.

The country is battling vaccine hesitancy amid a common belief that the vaccination is un-Islamic.

Conspiracy theories like vaccines trigger infertility and that the women will grow mustaches and beards are also fueling the reluctance to get vaccinated.

Against this backdrop, the government Wednesday declared that private and government sector employees would have to get vaccinated.

“(Getting vaccinated is) obligatory for both public as well private sectors employees. In this regard, all public sector employees will have to be vaccinated by June 30,” the National Command and Operation Centre, the federal government’s central agency dealing with the pandemic, said in a statement.

The agency, however, did not set a deadline for vaccinating private sector employees.

It said the immunization was voluntary for the rest of the people in the country.

The NCOC said the government was working out incentives for those who get vaccinated.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two countries where polio continues to be endemic because many parents do not want their children to get vaccinated against the crippling disease.

The country is moving out of the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic with a below 3 percent positivity rate in recent days, the lowest in four months.

In the last 24 hours, 77 people died from the virus, taking the overall fatalities to 21,453 since the pandemic began.

Official data showed that 1,118 people tested positive for the virus over the past day. The country has accumulated 936,131 confirmed cases so far.

The government began to ease restrictions imposed in March and April when the administration sought the help of the army to impose the measures like social distancing and the use of masks.

The government has allowed restaurants to use their terraces to serve the guests.

Schools in areas with a below 5 percent positivity rate have also reopened. EFE


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