Punjab govt suspends 18 health officials involved in charging for COVID vaccine

LAHORE: The Punjab government has suspended 18 officials who were charging citizens for COVID vaccination in the province.

As per details, after receiving complaints the Punjab Primary and Secondary Health Department conducted an inquiry that revealed the staff was saving the masses from waiting in the long lines for vaccination after taking money.

Though the vaccine is being provided to the people free of cost at all government hospitals, however, 18 health officials were found taking money from the citizens for COVID vaccination at the Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute (PKLI).

The employees were served show-cause notices and after confirmation of the charges, the 18 officials including Nawaz Joban, Sajjad Ali, Muhammad Tanvir, Babar Ali, Karamat Ali, Amjad Ali, Taimur Fayyaz, Muhammad Yousuf, Faqir Hussain, and others have been suspended by the health department.

Earlier, the government had decided to open registration for citizens aged 30 for the COVID-19 vaccination from Sunday (May 16). Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar said the government had decided to open registrations for another age group as the vaccine supply in Pakistan continues to improve and the country’s vaccination capacity gets enhanced day by day.

Asad Umar said citizens aged 40 years and above can walk into any vaccination centre to get a COVID-19 jab. “Starting tomorrow the 12th of May all 40 plus who have registered will be able to walk into any vaccination center of their choice and get vaccinated,” he wrote on Twitter.

He had also informed that vaccination centers are opened for this week and will only be closed for two days on account of Eid-ul-Fitr. On May 3, Pakistan opened registration for the coronavirus vaccination for people aged between 40 to 49 years across the country.

The vaccine registration for the age group has been going on since April 27, whereas walk-in vaccinations for people aged 50 and above are underway in the country.

The NCOC has earlier stated that vaccination centres are vaccinating people in two shifts during Ramazan.  A digital portal has been launched by the federal government for the registration through which a code is assigned to the person and then they can go to a designated vaccination center and get a jab.