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KARACHI: Karachi is launching a door-to-door campaign to vaccinate women, who are lagging behind men in rates of coronavirus inoculation as the country enters a fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, a senior official said on Friday.

Pakistan on Friday reported nearly 1,300 cases in a single day, its highest tally in two months, with a positivity rate of 2.5%. Karachi’s positivity rate rose to 10%, from 4.74% on Dec. 31.

“We have found that a sizable population of housewives are unvaccinated, and they socialize and attend weddings without face masks,” Qasim Siraj Soomro, parliamentary secretary health of the Sindh government, told Reuters. In contrast, the rate of vaccination among male family members who go out to work is higher than the rate among women, he added.

The provincial government’s campaign will use female health workers, who have long played an instrumental role in country-wide polio vaccination campaigns in the South Asian nation.

People urged to get vaccination: Govt concerned at Omicron variant’s advance

“We plan to target clusters in urban areas and at later stage in rural areas,” said the parliamentary secretary.

About 70 million people in Pakistan, or 32% of the population, have had two vaccine doses.

The first case of the Omicron variant was reported on Dec. 13 in Karachi, and the federal government has acknowledged that a fifth pandemic has started in the country, with Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad seeing most of the cases.

The government has not yet announced new restrictions but has urged people to follow precautionary measures.

The government has authorized booster doses for citizens over the age of 30 from Monday. Children over the age of 12 are being offered vaccinations at their schools.

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