LAHORE: Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid on Monday advised people to vaccinate at their “own risk”, saying there were side effects related to the COVID-19 vaccine, which she also claimed caused “deaths in some countries.”
Dr Yasmin Rashid clarified to the media here in Lahore that it was not possible yet to say for sure how long the coronavirus vaccine remained effective. “Research on the treatment of the coronavirus pandemic is still going on all around the world,” she said.
“No one, even the COVID-19 patients, will be vaccinated by force. We will make the public aware of the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine.
There were side effects of the vaccine to prevent against the coronavirus, the provincial health minister said. “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 noted.
Dr Rashid spoke of the coronavirus-related standard operating procedures (SOPs), saying people were repeatedly asked to fully and completely implement them. Lahore has lockdowns in 18 neighbourhoods at present, she added, noting that the number of infected patients was gradually declining.
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 much more and better than the others.
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.
Dr Rashid underlined that Rs10 billion worth of new equipment had been procured for the 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 the 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.