Despite influenza outbreak in Multan, the provincial health department has not okayed a proposal sent by Nishtar Hospital administration to it many days back for the purchase of 1,500 seasonal influenza vaccines, health sources disclosed.

The proposal was sent to the Punjab Health Secretary for the approval, but no written approval is received by the hospital so far, though the provincial health authorities granted a verbal permission, sources added. The hospital administration had purchased 200 vaccines at the start of the outbreak but keeping in view the size of the issue, this amount of vaccines looks insufficient.

At least three patients namely Shahnaz, Aneeqa and Saadia have died of what the health department described as seasonal influenza while another five are admitted to Nishtar Hospital.

A 40 year old woman namely Khalida was brought to hospital from Vehari with influenza symptoms on Tuesday while Aqsa, resident of Garden Town Multan, Azra of Bosan Road, Saadia of Mian Channu and Mansoor of Wana were already under treatment.

Earlier, three patients including Nausheen, Ahsan and Abdul Wahab were discharged from the hospital after recovering from the influenza.

Meanwhile, the private pharmacies and medicine companies created a fake shortage of influenza vaccine as a result of which the prices shot up. A survey of the market revealed that the vaccine vile normally sold at Rs500 is now being sold at Rs1,500.

The families of patients and citizens strongly condemned fake hike in vaccine prices and demanded the government to take action against profiteers besides ensuring availability of the vaccine.

OATH TAKING ON 14TH : The newly elected Chairmen, Vice Chairmen and other members of union councils will take oath of their offices on January 14, disclosed Election Commission sources. The newly elected public representatives will be administered oath by their concerned returning officers.

The Chairmen, Vice Chairmen and Councillors have cheered up after receiving the intimation regarding their oath taking ceremony. The local government elections in Multan had taken place on December 5 and the newly elected public representatives were highly perturbed on delay in their oaths.

The ECP sources said that all the local government representatives had been informed about the oath taking ceremony and they were asked to contact their concerned returning officers on January 14, Thursday.