Published Date: Mar 16, 2021
COVID-19 An Awakening Call To Invest More In Healthcare System: UHS VC
ISLAMABAD, (APP – UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – 16th Mar, 2021 ) :University of Health Sciences (UHS) Vice Chancellor Dr Javed Akram on Tuesday said the COVID-19 should be taken as an awakening call to change priorities at the national level, especially by investing more to improve the healthcare system.
“This priority shift is the only way forward to revive the economy and ensure that our population is staying safe,” he said as a key speaker at the webinar ‘Myths and Misconceptions about COVID Vaccine’, organized by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), as a part of its campaign ‘No one is safe until everyone is safe’.
Dr Akram presented a detailed account of various vaccine trials conducted in Pakistan udder several collaborated efforts, including three clinical trials with 18,000 volunteers. The Z-F 2001, which was the discovery of Chinese academy of Sciences (CAS), was also under trial whereas the Sputnik, Russian vaccine, was also in the pipeline.
“We are also working on the mutation and variants of the virus, and keep the data updated on University of Health Sciences mutation browser on daily basis.” He said they were also doing trials on Chemosatate, which was a post exposure test. Pakistan was among the 23 countries where trials had been conducted, and it was welcoming that “our initial trials have shown good efficacy results”, he added.
Dr Akram added that many countries were eying at getting their 75% of the population vaccinated to stop the local transmission. However, it was a big ask for a country like Pakistan with 220 million population.
While debunking various myths about the vaccination, he said it was untrue that the “vaccine changes our DNA or causes cases of male Impotency. The RNA vaccine is safe for the pregnant mothers and even the Hepatitis A, B, C, AIDS, and cancer patients should be vaccinated.
“Once you are vaccinated, it takes 28 weeks to create the anti-bodies neutralizing effects,” Dr Akram said, adding the vaccines were a huge blessing for the humanity and “we need to take full advantage of them”.
Dr Akram emphasized that the recovered patients should also take vaccine, because the vaccine targeted the binding sites of the viruses.
He stressed that the vaccine politics must be redressed with stern efforts as creating misconceptions about the vaccines might have adverse effects not only on the country’s economy but also the people.
Dr Akram opined despite virus variations and mutations, vaccine would stay effective which targeted its spikes (S-glycoprotein), “so even if the virus mutates, it will not get attach to our bodies”.
He said it was commendable that the elderly persons in Pakistan were being vaccinated on priority.
Responding to questions from the audience, Dr Akram said the private sector had not acquired the vaccine. The government should allow the private sector in a limited scale to import the vaccine.
The Drugs Regulatory Authority of Pakistan should declare it an essential medicine and fix its price to avoid any profiteering, he added.
He informed the participants that work in collaboration with National Database Registration Authority was underway on the vaccine passport with the NADRA and soon a mechanism for it would be in place.
He said a chemotherapy patient could take the COVID-19 vaccine, but it should not be taken in the first three days after their chemotherapy.
SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri said as it had been the case with polio vaccination campaign, several misconceptions about the COVID-19 vaccination, including about its side effects, existed widely in the society.
“The same old anti-vaccine mindset that persists in Pakistan need to be responded with the right flow of information to avert the damage it may render to the COVID-19 vaccine,” DR Suleri emphasized.
He added that the definition of frontline workers against the pandemic should also be widened to include other key players such as police, journalists and others, who performed the essential services while being at risk themselves.