Mix-and-match of Covid-19 vaccine can be dangerous


ISLAMABAD: Health Services Academy (HSA) Speakers during a conference held at the  have warned that mix-and-match of Covid-19 vaccine can be dangerous. However, they expressed satisfaction over the government’s performance in controlling the deadly virus across the country.

On the other hand, 1,780 new cases were reported and 42 people succumbed to coronavirus on Sunday. The national positivity rate dropped to less than four per cent.

The three-day 11th annual public health conference titled ‘Contemporary medicines, health technologies and vaccines for emerging public health risks’, which focused on improving access to medical services and vaccines to overcome health-related challenges, concluded on Sunday.

UHS Vice Chancellor Dr Javed Akram told the participants that Pakistan was the only country where over half a dozen vaccines of the novel coronavirus were being used at the same time.

“On the other hand, a debate has started if booster shots protect people more. I would say people should be very careful about it. If they want to have a booster shot, they should get the same vaccine which has already been administered to them,” he said.

He said mix-and-match [using more than one vaccine for a person] of vaccine could be dangerous as there was no study which proved that the booster shot was safe.

“I would suggest that people should avoid mix-and-match. Moreover, a debate has started if infants should be administered the vaccine. I would again suggest that it can be dangerous and people should avoid it unless a study would prove that the vaccine is safe for infants,” Dr Akram said.

Over 100 research papers were presented during the conference and 65 of them were selected for publication by HSA.

The Dean of HSA, Dr Shehzad Ali Khan, said the academy had become the first university of Pakistan that had initiated a Bachelor of Science programme in Public Health Services and in Midwifery.

Spokesperson for the Ministry of National Health Service Sajid Shah, while talking to Dawn, said that HSA had been included in OIC’s organisations of excellence in public health and with this Pakistan would now be contributing to least developed Islamic countries of the OIC, along with COMSTECH Secretariat of Islamabad.

According to data of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), 78,218,690 doses of Covid-19 vaccine have so far been administered in Pakistan. The NCOC data showed that the national positivity rate stood at 3.98pc on Sunday after a gap of two-and-a-half months. Earlier, it was recorded at 3.63pc on July 12.
Former leaders of Afghanistan are to blame for current situation: Shah Mahmood Qureshi   (main)

LONDON: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday said that the former leaders of Afghanistan are to blame for the current situation there. Qureshi's remarks came during a working dinner organised by the Pakistan High Commission in  London, United Kingdom, on Sunday evening. He is in London on a three-day official visit after the conclusion of his trip to New York where he attended the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). 

Qureshi will have meetings with the chairman of the British Foreign Affairs Committee, members of the British Parliament, and his counterpart Elizabeth Truss at the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office during the trip.

"Former president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai — who held office from 2001 to 2014 — used to accuse Pakistan of interfering in his country's matters," Qureshi said.

The foreign minister added that because of the war in the country and the decision taken by the former leaders, the people of Afghanistan had to suffer for a long time.

He warned that if the world isolates Afghanistan, then there will be a refugee problem and people will turn to Europe for help.

"Pakistan is ready to be at the centre of relief activities in Afghanistan and will extend all possible support to the people there," said Qureshi. 

"The people of Afghanistan are tired of war and only want peace and stability in their country," he said.

Qureshi also turned  guns on Western countries for the situation in Afghanistan and said that "they are trying to make Pakistan a scapegoat."

"[As opposed to the narrative of Western countries] Pakistan is not a safe haven for terrorists. Western media outlets should come here and see the situation for themselves," Qureshi maintained.

He also spoke about the interim Taliban government in Afghanistan and said that both Pakistan and the United Kingdom are on the same page when it comes to the demand for an inclusive government in the country. 

"The United Kingdom supports the idea of an inclusive government in Afghanistan, and this exactly what Pakistan wants too," the foreign minister said. "While the two countries may have different approaches to dealing with the situation, the goal is the same", per Geo.tv.

Qureshi also talked about the probability of a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and urged Britain to contact the Taliban government to resolve the issue.

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