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Monday Feb 01 2021
Web Desk

Vaccinate against coronavirus at 'your own risk', says Punjab health minister citing 'side effects'

Web Desk
Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid speaks to the media in Lahore, Pakistan, February 1, 2021. Geo News/via

  • Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid says "not yet possible" to say for sure how long the coronavirus vaccine remains effective
  • Notes that no one, not even the COVID-19 patients, would be vaccinated by force
  • Promises to make public aware of the COVID-19 vaccine's side effects, says deaths occurred "due to the COVID-19 vaccine in some countries"

LAHORE: Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid on Monday warned of the "side effects" of the coronavirus vaccines, advising people to vaccinate against COVID-19 at their "own risk", Geo Urdu reported.

Speaking to media here in Lahore, Dr Yasmin Rashid said it "is not yet possible to say for sure how long the coronavirus vaccine remains effective."

Read more: ‘Lessons learnt’ in Punjab; better prepared for second wave of coronavirus, says Yasmin Rashid

"No one, not even COVID-19 patients, will be vaccinated by force," she said.

"Research on the treatment of the coronavirus pandemic is still going on all around the world. We will make the public aware of the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine."

The provincial health minister said there were "side effects" of vaccine invented to prevent coronavirus. "There have been deaths due to the COVID-19 vaccine in some countries as well; therefore, everyone will be vaccinated at their own risk," she underlined.

Dr Rashid spoke of the coronavirus-related standard operating procedures (SOPs), saying people were repeatedly asked to "fully and completely observe them." 

Also read: Health cards for 45% of Punjab by June end, says Yasmin Rashid

Lahore has lockdowns in 18 neighbourhoods at present, she added, noting that the number of infected patients was gradually declining.

Free COVID-19 vaccines to health workers

The National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) — which monitors coronavirus-related developments across Pakistan — would provide the vaccines to the entire country from Wednesday, she said.

The Punjab health minister claimed that contact-tracing in her province was on a higher scale and better than the provinces.

Related: Punjab health minister warns schools may close if coronavirus SOPs not taken seriously

Health workers in both private and public hospitals would be given free COVID-19 vaccines, she said, adding that the first priority would be to administer the drug to those over the age of 60 and then the people above 50.

A large portion of the population would successfully be vaccinated in the next four to five months, she noted.

'False propaganda' about medical seats

Dr Rashid underlined that Rs10 billion worth of new equipment had been procured for public hospitals and the PTI's flagship universal health coverage plan would be completed by the end of the year. Punjab always played the role of a "big brother" to other provinces, she said.

"Seats for medical students have not been reduced for any province, including Sindh," she added, referring to the controversies due to which students launched country-wide protests last month.

"False propaganda is being spread about a reduction in the number of seats in medical colleges," she claimed.