Now Reading: Health Officer Suspended Over Vaccinating PML-N’s Family Out of Turn
For allegedly violating the standard operating procedures to facilitate the out-of-turn vaccination against Covid-19 of PML-N leader Mohammad Zubair’s daughter and son-in-law, a health officer of the District Health Office in Karachi’s East district was suspended on Sunday. This news comes soon after the Covid-19 vaccination campaign was launched in Karachi just last week.
As per guidelines issued by the government, the first phase of this campaign was supposed to be strictly limited to frontline healthcare workers. These workers were to be followed by people aged 65 years and above. Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah spoke at the launch ceremony of said campaign and made the revelation that Sindh had received 83,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine, all of which would be provided to frontline health workers.
Despite this fact, reports started flooding social media that the son-in-law and daughter of Zubair, a PMLN leader and the former Sindh governor, were inoculated by a health officer out of turn even though they were neither elderly nor were they health workers. Responding to one such report, Meeran Yousuf i.e. the media coordinator to the Sindh health and population welfare minister, said;
“The person who facilitated this has been suspended and an enquiry will be taking place. Our priority is our Frontline Healthcare Workers only in this phase.”
The person who facilitated this has been suspended and an enquiry will be taking place. Our priority is our Frontline Healthcare Workers only in this phase. https://t.co/ILSqoqAnGy pic.twitter.com/OUV9Lmkzkh
— Meeran (@LumosNotNox) February 7, 2021
When approached by a media outlet, Yousuf stated that the health department’s database confirms that the two persons whose pictures getting vaccinated were shared on social media were indeed the daughter and son-in-law of Zubair.
In her tweet, Yousuf shared a copy of an order issued by the Sindh health department which stated that the services of Dr. Aneela Qureshi, a deputy district officer (BS-18) at the District Health Office in East district, “are hereby placed under suspension and she is directed to report at [the] health department”. It stated that during this time frame, Dr Qureshi will be “entitled to draw her salary as per the rules”.
As per details of said order, the provincial coordinator at the EOC for Immunisation and Polio Karachi Division – Fayyaz Hussain Abbasi – has been appointed as the inquiry officer on the case. Under this order, he will conduct an investigation regarding “violation of SOPs during administration of Covid-19 vaccine at Adult Vaccination Centre” at the Ojha campus of Dow University Hospital, Karachi and he will be required to submit this inquiry report within three working days.
Federal Planning Minister Asad Umar, who happens to be the head of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) overseeing Pakistan’s Covid-19 response as well as the brother of PML-N leader Zubair, also shared about the aforementioned incident in a tweet.
شکایت موصول ہوئی تھیں کے کرونا ویکسین کراچی میں ہیلتھ کیئر ورکرز کے علاوہ جان پہچان والوں کو لگائ جا رہی ہیں. فوری نوٹس لیتے ہوئے آج NCOC کی ٹیم کی فیصل سلطان کی سربراہی میں سندھ حکومت کے نمائندوں سے میٹنگ میں سختی سے صرف ہیلتھ ورکرز کی ویکسینیشن کی تاکید کی گئ.
— Asad Umar (@Asad_Umar) February 7, 2021
The Minister stated;
“Complaints were received that the corona vaccine was being administered to acquaintances in Karachi, in addition to health care workers. Taking immediate notice, a meeting of NCOC team headed by Faisal Sultan with representatives of Sindh government today strongly urged only vaccination of health workers.”
After this incident, a spokesperson for the Dow University confirmed that Dr. Qureshi was not an employee of their institute and was instead associated with the District Health Office (East), thus bringing the eligibility of said officer to work in the field under questioning.