PESHAWAR: Local doctors are concerned about the low vaccination rate against Covid-19 and have called for an intensification of the vaccination as well as a booster dose to save people from the virus, especially Omicron, which is likely to break down. spread to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the near future.
“The Omicron variant of the coronavirus will cause an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in our country, including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the coming days, as this infection is unlikely to be prevented by the two doses of the vaccine,” said said Professor Khalid Mahmood, physician. at Lady Reading Hospital, Dawn said.
He said the booster dose was strongly advised, especially for people who received the second dose of the vaccine six months ago. Those who have finished their dose of vaccination should opt for a booster because the severity of the infection would be less in the vaccinated people compared to the unvaccinated batch.
In addition, the overall death rate of this variant in the UK and other western countries is also lower than that of Delta and other variants. Deaths per million people from this variant are around 1.47, less than a tenth of the death rate recorded a year ago. In addition, the peak of Omicron infection has ended in South Africa where the mutant strain originated without any significant mortality.
Experts fear fifth wave of pandemic in coming days
Professor Khalid said the number of coronavirus infections continued to decline as people relaxed as they ignored face mask use, hand washing, social distancing and other preventative measures. “No one should feel relaxed. We must continue to respect social distancing, face masks, disinfection or hand washing and carry out vaccination, ”he added.
Prof Ziaul Haq, vice-chancellor of Khyber Medical University, said that a booster dose was strongly recommended for people who are fully immune due to Omicron. He said the KMU Public Health Reference Laboratory (PHRL) was the main Covid laboratory in the province that performed 4,000 to 6,000 PCR tests daily within 24 hours. The laboratory is linked to the Ministry of Health and the National Command and Operation Center.
“Our newly established Advanced Center for Genomic Technologies (ACGT) is monitoring variants of concern, including Omicron. As per standard procedure, all variant detection results are reported to the health department and the Islamabad National Institute of Health, ”he said.
Professor Zia said the lab itself has not announced test results due to data security and patient privacy. A total of 205 Covid-19 positive samples have been processed so far and the data shows all samples are a Delta variant and there is no Omicron variant.
“However, the international projections and trends are alarming and we could have a very heavy fifth wave with the predominant Omicron variant,” he said. Omicron’s doubling time is two to three days versus two weeks for Delta and this can lead to a tsunami of cases.
Prof Zia said the Omicron variant has a high number of asymptomatic cases, therefore unknown positive cases in Pakistan may already be very high compared to those reported.
Fortunately, the death rate is not very high with Omicron than with Delta, but with a very high number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths will automatically increase and are expected to increase by the end of January, especially in people partially or not. vaccinated and other vulnerable people, “he said.
He said he knew people were exhausted, but that this could be the “last” wave as the majority of people would get immunity, natural or acquired. Treating it with ignorance can lead to an unwanted ending, he said.
“To minimize serious infections, associated hospitalizations and the number of deaths, we must vaccinate ourselves (preferably triple vaccination) ourselves and the people around us as soon as possible and follow the standard operating procedure,” he said. he declares.
Professor Zia said that health workers, federal and provincial governments, armed forces, universities, media, civil society and many others under the NCOC have made an unprecedented effort to make Pakistan one of the successful case studies from previous waves of the pandemic. “They will do well this time around with a maximum number of cases expected compared to all the previous waves,” he added.
Posted in Dawn, le 3 January 2022