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Sunday, May 28, 2023

Is Sindh government vaccinating VIPs instead of healthcare workers?

The daughter and son-in-law of Mohammad Zubair, the former Sindh governor, were inoculated out of turn even though they were neither health workers nor elderly. What does the Sindh government have to say?

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As the first phase of inoculation of frontline healthcare workers against Covid-19 continues, Minister for Planning Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar on Sunday alleged that the vaccine was being administered to VIPs in Sindh.

He claimed that in the Centre, the vaccine had not even been given to Prime Minister Imran Khan, federal ministers or their families.

In a tweet, Mr Umar said complaints had been received that people other than the healthcare workers were receiving the vaccine jabs in Karachi. As a result, representatives of the Sindh government were instructed during the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) meeting to vaccinate healthcare workers only.

He said the vaccine had been given to the provincial government and therefore should inoculate healthcare personnel. According to media reports, NCOC National Coordinator Lt Gen Hamooduz Zaman Khan has been directed to investigate the matter.

The vaccination drive was launched by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Feb 2 in Islamabad, which started in the rest of the country the next day.

Mohammad Zubair’s daughter and son-in-law get vaccinated?

It is important to note that an officer of the District Health Office in Karachi’s East district was suspended on Sunday for allegedly violating the standard operating procedures to facilitate the vaccination against Covid-19 of PML-N leader Mohammad Zubair’s daughter and son-in-law.

The Covid-19 vaccination campaign was launched in Karachi last week, and as per government guidelines, the first phase of the drive was supposed to be strictly limited to frontline healthcare workers, followed by people aged 65 years and above.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah had said that Sindh had received 83,000 doses of the vaccine, all of which would be provided to frontline health workers.

However, on Saturday evening, reports on social media claimed that the daughter and son-in-law of Zubair, the former Sindh governor, were inoculated out of turn even though they were neither health workers nor elderly.

Responding to one such tweet, Meeran Yousuf, media coordinator to the Sindh health and population welfare minister, said “the person who facilitated this has been suspended and an enquiry will be taking place.” She said the provincial government’s “priority is our Frontline Healthcare Workers only in this phase”.

Later on, Yousuf confirmed to media that according to the health department’s database, the two persons whose pictures getting vaccinated were shared on social media were the daughter and son-in-law of Zubair.