Islamabad: The Pakistan government has approved funds worth Rs1 billion (US$6.4m) to launch a new public awareness campaign for community health and safety and to combat the vaccine hesitancy and misinformation.
The technical supplementary grant was approved in a cabinet meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) chaired by federal minister for finance and revenue Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting will be responsible for devising the awareness campaigns to combat the vaccine hesitancy issue amid the surging third wave of COVID-19.
The government allocated new funds to tackle the wave of misinformation that intensified after Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan got infected with the coronavirus two days after receiving the first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Health officials were quick to respond to the flurry of misleading messages on social media. Government officials and doctors clarified that it is only after receiving the second dose that the immunity to the virus fully kicks in and urged everyone to get vaccinated when it’s their turn.
However, even after getting fully vaccinated, it’s important to continue to take basic precautions as the world continues to battle the pandemic, the officials insisted.
Pakistan on Saturday reported at least 4,468 new coronavirus cases during the last 24 hours – the highest single-day tally since July 2020. At least 67 people lost their lives to coronavirus on March 26. The nationwide tally of the number of cases reached 649,824 and 14,158 total deaths, according to official data.