COVID-19 vaccine shortage hits Punjab cities, Karachi

Punjab Health Minister Yasmin Rashid denies reports of any shortage in COVID-19 vaccines

M. Waqar Bhatti
Ummay Farwa

KARACHI/LAHORE: The vaccination process has to come to a halt in major Punjab cities, including Lahore, due to a shortage in vaccines as supplies from the federal government have been delayed for unknown reasons, Geo News reported Tuesday.

In Karachi, too, Chinese vaccines are in short supply. Only those coming for a second dose are being facilitated at most centres.

According to health officials in Punjab, 20,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines are expected today.

A large number of people at Lahore’s mass vaccination centres were sent back by security guards after being told that the NADRA system is being updated and so vaccination has stopped and will resume after two days at the Expo Centre.

Sources, however, said that there is only three days of vaccine stock left in other cities of the province and the Punjab Health Department has demanded more vaccines.

According to sources, the process of vaccination stopped in Bahawalpur and Faisalabad, while the stock of vaccines has decreased in six divisions of Gujranwala.

Punjab Health Minister Yasmin Rashid denied any shortage, saying the problem arose as a large number of people came to the centre for a second dose.

“Our storage is near Manga from where supply is being sent,” she said, suggesting people either wait or go to the vaccination centre near the warehouse.

On the other hand, the administration of AstraZeneca vaccine has started at Karachi Expo Centre for people aged 18 and above after the government revised the guidelines for the Oxford vaccine, which was earlier restricted for people below 40.

Meanwhile, the Pfizer vaccine is also being given to people today.