A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine. File photo
Pakistan has secured 17 million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine under a global scheme to deliver coronavirus treatments to developing nations, says planning minister.
A government health official said the country will receive vaccine under WHO’s COVAX Facility, out of which up to 7 million would arrive by March.
Asad Umar in his Saturday night tweet said also a plane is being sent to China to bring the first tranche of half a million doses of Sinopharm’s vaccine – enough to inoculate 250,000 out of 400,000 health workers.
Picture shown for illustrative purposes only.
He said the rest of the AstraZeneca vaccine would be delivered in the second half of the year.
About 6 million of the doses will arrive in the first quarter of 2021 under the COVAX scheme, with the remainder due by mid-year, Faisal Sultan, special assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services, said in a statement.
Pakistan signed up last year to the vaccine sharing scheme coordinated by the World Health Organization to support lower-income countries.
"We remain confident that we will meet our plan of large-scale immunisation over the coming months this year," Sultan said.Pakistan reported 2,179 new infections and 65 deaths in the latest 24-hours, taking the total number of cases to 543,214, with 11,623 deaths.
European Medicines Agency director Emer Cooke said the watchdog could not definitively rule out a link between blood clot incidents and the vaccine in its investigation into 30 cases of a rare blood clotting condition.
The UN health agency also said that after the injection of more than 260 million coronavirus vaccine doses so far around the world, no deaths had yet been attributed to a COVID-19 jab.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has been quoted as saying that Pakistan deployed the infrastructure built up over many years for polio to combat Covid-19. Community health workers who have been trained to go door-to-door vaccinating children for polio have been utilised for surveillance, contact tracing and care.
“Thank God, the first batch of Sinopharm vaccine has arrived! Grateful to China and everyone who made this happen,” he said. “I salute our frontline healthcare workers for their efforts and they’ll be first to get vaccinated.”
The light-hearted clip, voiced in the English version by actor Jack Black, carries a serious message that the UN Development Programme hopes to drive home.
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