The National Command and Operating Centre (NCOC) amended its Covid-19 immunization recommendations for individuals under the age of 18 on Wednesday.
“The general public age category for vaccination has been decreased to 17 years,” the NCOC said, adding that individuals under the age of 18 will get the Pfizer vaccine.
According to the NCOC announcement, those under the age of 18 will be required to give their B-form number in order to register in the National Immunisation Management System.
Meanwhile, immunocompromised people aged 12 to 17 will be immunized with the Pfizer vaccine, according to the announcement.
However, because the immunization drive is presently only available to people above the age of 17, they will need to provide their medical certificates as evidence.
Previously, students under the age of 18 who planned to travel abroad may obtain the Moderna vaccination.
Sajid Shah, a spokeswoman for the National Health Services ministry, told Dawn that those over the age of 17 would need to obtain one dosage by September 15 and be completely vaccinated by October 15 or they will be barred from entering educational institutions.
He stated that individuals who were immunocompromised and above the age of 12 may acquire the immunizations at designated vaccination facilities after showing their medical records, and he advised parents to make sure their children received the shots.
“At least partially vaccinated transporters will be permitted to pick up and drop off students beginning Wednesday (today), and only fully vaccinated persons will be able to continue their transport companies that cater to students beginning September 30,” Shah added.
Similarly, he stated that partially vaccinated individuals may enter and work in shopping malls, but they would need to be completely vaccinated by September 30, which was the deadline for them.
He stated that air travel limitations had been in effect since the beginning of August and that those who were at least partly vaccinated may fly domestically.
“However, from September 30, only fully vaccinated persons will be able to fly domestically and internationally, and this limitation will apply to both inbound and outgoing travelers,” the spokesman added.
Similarly, in order to travel on trains and buses and use highways and motorways, citizens will have to be partially vaccinated by Sept 15 and completely inoculated by Oct 15.
He said vaccines were available and thousands of vaccination centers had been opened, so “we cannot allow anyone to play with the health of vulnerable people”.
The spokesperson said booster shots would also be available from Sept 1 to those planning to travel abroad.
“But, since a booster dose is a travel requirement and not a health-related necessity, Rs1,270 would be charged for each dose,” Shah said, adding that an app could be downloaded to get a vaccination pass as well prove that the person was vaccinated.
Minimum age for Covid vaccination cut to 15 years
Last week, the NCOC had decided to reduce the minimum age for Covid-19 vaccination from 18 years to 15 years.
The decision was shared by the federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr. Faisal Sultan during a press conference in Islamabad.
“From September 1 teenagers over 17 years of age will be allowed to get the first dose and will have to get one dose by September 15. They will have to be fully vaccinated by October 15, otherwise, they will not be allowed in educational institutions. After that, 16 years to 17 years age group and then 15 years to 16 years age group will be allowed to get vaccinated. Dates for vaccination of the other two groups [from 15 to 17] will be announced soon,” Dr. Sultan had said.
He had said that those who were immunocompromised and over the age of 12 will be able to be vaccinated at selected vaccination centers after checking their medical record. He had advised parents to ensure that their children were vaccinated.