PESHAWAR: Calling for accelerating the vaccination drive, the members of the opposition lawmakers in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Tuesday asked the government to reduce the upper age limit for the Covid-19 vaccination and ensure the availability of the vaccines.
Inayatullah Khan of Jamaat-e-Islami raised the issue on a point of order, saying that it seemed the corona pandemic would continue for a long time and the nation had to live with it.
He said there should be a comprehensive strategy to adopt precautionary measures and ensure availability of the vaccines and relaxing the upper age limit for vaccination.
He said since the majority of the population in the country consisted of young people so the upper age limit for vaccination should be brought down to 50 years.
In his reply, Health Minister Taimur Salim Jhagra said the government was fully alert and efforts were being made to ensure availability of vaccines.
However, he said the vaccine producing countries were themselves facing shortage but the situation would improve with the passage of time.
He said the government with the cooperation of opposition parties would try to educate the people about the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and precautionary measures to help contain the spread of the virus.
The minister added that steps taken by the government were successful during the two waves of Covid-19 and the nation would successfully cope with the third wave as well.
He said the federal government and National Command and Control Centre were monitoring the situation. He added minimum restrictions had been imposed to allow business activities.
The minister admitted that the upper age limit should be reduced, saying that he had already forwarded the suggestion to the federal government.
He assured the House that the provincial government was ready to release funds for procurement of vaccines if the centre needed a share of the required amount from the province. He also stressed the need for behavioural change in the society to overcome the situation.
Inayatullah Khan, a former health minister and MPA from Upper Dir, also called for steps to control prices of edibles during Ramazan. He said inflation had crossed 80 percent and ordinary people were unable to buy edibles.