300,000 Pakistanis fail to turn up for second dose of COVID-19 vaccine: Report

pakistan vaccine covid sinovac
A woman receives the first shot the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine from a paramedic at a vaccination centre, in Lahore. Image Credit: AP

Islamabad: Some 300,000 recipients of the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine had never returned for the second one despite Pakistan government’s continued efforts to create awareness about vaccination, a newspaper said on Tuesday.

An official of the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) was quoted as saying the second dose of a majority of COVID-19 vaccines is administered after an interval of three weeks. However, in the case of the AstraZeneca, the second dose is given after 12 weeks. “Around 300,000 first dose recipients never showed up on their due dates,” he said.

“There is a possibility that some of them might have died before getting their second dose. Some of them may have contracted COVID-19 after receiving their first dose and then decided not to get the second one. Others might have fallen to the negative propaganda and skipped the vaccination,” the ministry said.

Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, who also heads the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), told the newspaper that a call centre was being established to contact such people and convince them to complete their vaccination.

Citing a document, Dawn news site reported that 120,960 citizens were supposed to get the second jab on May 24, but only 77,136 contacted. Similarly, 183,601 people were due to get their second doses on May 25 but 87,169 received them while 187,978 people had their due date on May 26 but only 90,160 turned up.

Similarly, 17,785 people were called for their second jab on June 6, but 31,194 were vaccinated.

“A number of people have had a minor reaction to the vaccine after which they decided not to get the second dose. Some fell for the propaganda against vaccination while others decided against getting the second jab after contracting the virus,” said Dr Javed Akram, Member of the Scientific Task Force on COVID-19.

He further said if a person did not get the second dose in six months, he or she would be treated as a fresh case and would require two doses of the vaccine.