ISLAMABAD: The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) today approved a booster shot of Covid-19 vaccines for the frontline healthcare workers, vaccinated but vulnerable and those aged over 50 years.
The decision was taken amid the reports of spread of the new coronavirus variant Omicron across the world.
The NCOC did not say which Covid-19 vaccine would be administered as booster shots, but said the jabs would be free and administered six months after the last vaccine dose.
During its meeting today, the NCOC discussed epidemic curve chart data for Pakistan, the national vaccine strategy, and disease prevalence across the country. The forum stressed that the Omicron variant was spreading fast globally and the only protection against it was vaccination.
Subsequently, the NCOC decided to take strict measures to enforce the “obligatory vaccination regime” from December 1 (today) and directed the provinces and authorities to adopt a zero-tolerance policy regarding its implementation.
The forum was informed that 40 call centres have been established across the country to contact those who have not yet received their second doses. The number of call centres would be increased in the future.
Provincial health ministers and chief secretaries gave presentations during the meeting, highlighting initiatives taken to boost the vaccination campaign, improve testing numbers and establish call centres.
“All provinces will start vaccination outreach campaigns immediately to [achieve] the vaccination targets,” the statement added.
During the meeting, representatives from provinces stressed on the need to focus on the Omicron variant and take necessary measures at airports for checking the vaccination status as well as testing of travellers.