Sat, 29 Jan 2022

Islamabad [Pakistan], December 1 (ANI): Pakistan on Wednesday approved a booster shot of COVID-19 vaccines for healthcare workers, immunocompromised people and those aged over 50 years.

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), in a statement, said that the vaccines shots would be free and administered six months after the last vaccine dose. However, it did not say which COVID-19 vaccine would be administered, Dawn reported.

This comes as concerns have been raised around the world over the new coronavirus variant Omicron.

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.

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.

The Omicron variant (B.1.1.529), a new variant of the COVID-19, was first reported in Botswana on November 11, 2021, and appeared on November 14 in South Africa. It has been declared a variant of concern by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The number of cases of this variant appears to be increasing in almost all provinces in South Africa. Following the emergence of the COVID-19 variant 'Omicron', several countries including the United States, the Philippines, Spain, Israel, Austria, Morocco have imposed travel restrictions from Africa.

Besides, Canada has also banned the entry of foreign nationals who have travelled to the southern Africa region over the last 14 days. (ANI)

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