Islamabad, (Asian independent) Nearly a year after the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) that claimed 11,746 lives and infected more than half a million in Pakistan, the government began vaccinating the frontline warriors on Tuesday, with a 50-year-old doctor being the first health care worker (HCW) in the country to get the jab.
While a countrywide campaign is going to start formally on Wednesday in which over one million HCWs will be vaccinated against the coronavirus in a period of two months, an anaesthetist and critical care specialist, Prof Rana Imran Sikander, was the first doctor to have been vaccinated against the disease at PM Office in the presence of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the Dawn reported.
On the occasion, the Prime Minister said: “I congratulate my team which has worked promptly and vaccine was imported. We are also thankful to China which has provided vaccine. Just like the vaccine has been inoculated to a doctor, it will be given to frontline health care workers who have been dealing with the Covid-19 patients.
“In a second phase, people of an age group (over 65) will be vaccinated. Vaccine is being distributed fairly in all the provinces and no one should think that one province has been getting more doses.”
As the first tranche of the vaccine was sent to all federating units, the premier urged all registered HCWs to get themselves vaccinated as they were considered the most vulnerable across the globe.
Interestingly, photos and video clips of the first shot being administered to a Pakistani in the presence of Khan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Faisal Sultan and Minister for Planning Asad Umar went viral on social media and TV channels, majority of the people remained unaware of his identity as his face was covered with mask.
The person who volunteered himself for the first-ever official jab in the country was Rana Imran Sikander, an anesthetist and critical care specialist at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims).
Sikander said: “I am 50 years old, married, and father of four children. I drove to PM Office and then drove back to my house, after being vaccinated. I am in good health and did four-kilometre jogging in the evening.”
He said people should not hesitate, as vaccination was part of everyone’s life. “We get BCG just after birth, polio vaccine till the age of five and a number of other vaccines throughout the life. Even pregnant women are vaccinated. So Covid-19 vaccine is also just a vaccine similar to other vaccines we take regularly,” the doctor said.
Unfortunately, he said, there was a segment of society both in developing and developed countries, which resisted vaccination.
Meanwhile, according to the National Command and Operation Centre, as many as 1,220 more cases of coronavirus and 63 deaths have been reported from across the country during the past one day.