A teacher receives the first shot of the Sinovac from a paramedic in a vaccination centre at a school in Lahore on Saturday. AP
Tariq Butt, Correspondent
Walk-in vaccination against coronavirus for citizens aged 30 and above and teachers older than 18 years started on Saturday.
The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) Chairman and Planning Minister Asad Umar have given an update on both vaccination categories on Twitter.
Umar requested people who are 30 years or older to get registered and go to any vaccination centre to get a jab against coronavirus.
"Walk-in vaccination for teachers above 18 years of age is open. Teachers can walk-in to any vaccination centre with Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC), stamped letter from head of institution/teachers’ ID Card and get themselves vaccinated,” the NCOC tweeted.
More than 5 million people have been vaccinated against the coronavirus infection in Pakistan so far, according to the minister, who encouraged the public to get themselves registered for vaccination at the earliest.
A teacher receives the first shot of the Sinovac vaccine at a school in Lahore. AP
Earlier this week, on May 16, Pakistan opened registrations for citizens aged 19 and above for coronavirus vaccination. In a tweet, Umar had said now registration will be open for the entire national population, which is approved by health experts for the vaccine.
He had explained that the government was opening up registrations for more age groups as Pakistan's vaccine supply continues to improve and the country's vaccination capacity gets enhanced day by day.
A digital portal has been launched by the federal government for the registration through which a code is assigned to the person. They can then go to a designated vaccination centre and get a jab.
Meanwhile, after the UK variant made inroads into various cities of the country, Pakistan has reported its first confirmed patient carrying the Indian strain.
In a statement, the national health services ministry spokesperson, Sajid Shah, confirmed the development. "The Indian variant case was detected by the
National Institute of Health which conducted whole-genome sequencing of SARS CoV-2 samples collected during the first three weeks of May 2021.”
"The sequencing results confirmed the detection of seven cases of B.1.351 (South African variant) and one case of B.1.617.2 (Indian variant),” he said, adding that this was the first in-country detection of the Indian strain.
"As per protocols, contact tracing of all the cases is in progress by the Field Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Division and DHO Islamabad,” the statement said, adding that continued detection of global strains highlighted the ongoing need for observation of guidelines, use of masks and need for vaccination.
Asad Umar warned that countries not accepting vaccination certificates of Chinese vaccines would turn out to be a problem for the entire world if a decision was not taken on the issue at the global level.
"The more quickly we get ourselves vaccinated, the faster we will be able to rid ourselves of this menace," Asad Umar said, requesting people to get themselves vaccinated so that businesses could reopen and life could return to its normal state in Pakistan.
"We expect the first 10,000 doses to come on March 25, and 100,000 next month and 200,000 the month after," said Hassan Abbas, an official of AJ Pharma, CanSino's local partner, which will be importing the vaccine.
China has pledged to donate 500,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine made by the Chinese firm SinoPharm. Two government sources said the first batch would be flown in on Saturday. Pakistan reported 1,563 new coronavirus infections and 74 deaths in the latest 24-hour period.
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Since the beginning of 2021, the campaign in Pakistan has succeeded in providing 75,148,404 doses of vaccination against polio, bringing the total number, provided by the campaign since 2014 and until 2021, to 583, 240,876 vaccination doses.