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Registration of people over 60 for vaccination under way, SHC told

As many as 21,126 people of over 65 years have been registered by the government for Covid-19 vaccine AstraZeneca, which is safer for the above-60-year-old age group, the Sindh health secretary told the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday.

Filing comments before the SHC that had directed the health department to apprise it about the vaccination policy for senior doctors and surgeons who were over 60 years, the health secretary submitted that the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has decided a priority group in the second phase for the Covid-19 vaccination for above 60 and non-healthcare workers.

He submitted that the all frontline healthcare workers who were directly in contact with patients and at high risk would be vaccinated. He added that they were being administered the sinopharm vaccine manufactured by a Beijing institute; however, during the randomise control trial of the vaccine, there were less data available for its efficacy for those below 18 and above 60 years.

The secretary said it had been advised not to administer sinopharm to over-60-year-old people. He submitted that the recommended vaccine for the elderly persons was Oxford’s AstraZeneca which was safer and the federal government had already announced registration of persons above 60 in this regard. Giving details of the registration, he said that people above 60 had started registration in Sindh and 37 people of 60 to 65 years of age and 21,126 people of above 65 years had been registered.

A division bench of the SHC headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar asked a counsel to go through the statement of the health secretary and adjourned the hearing till March 9. The bench was hearing a petition seeking a direction to hospitals for providing first aid to every patient at initial stage without calling for producing Covid-19 test.

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