COVID-19: Vaccination campaign in Pakistan to kick off next week, says Minister

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Monitoring Desk
Pakistan’s Covid-19 vaccination drive will be launched next week, starting with front-line health workers including doctors and para-medical staff, federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar said on Wednesday.
“The system for vaccination is in place. Hundreds of vaccination centres in the country will be administering Covid vaccine,” Umar, who is also the head of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), said in a tweet.
“God willing, the vaccination of front-line health workers will start next week,” he added.
China has announced to donate 0.5 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine made by the firm SinoPharm to Pakistan.
According to officials, the first batch of the vaccine would be flown to Islamabad in on Saturday.

Pakistan has so far approved three coronavirus vaccines — the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, the vaccine developed by Chinese state-owned firm China National Pharmaceutical Group (SinoPharm) and Russian-developed Sputnik V.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan has said Pakistan could get “in the range of tens of millions” of vaccine doses under an agreement with China’s Cansino Biologics Inc.
Cansino’s Ad5-nCoV vaccine candidate is nearing completion of Phase III clinical trials in Pakistan, and preliminary results may be available by mid-February, Sultan said.
Dr Ghazna Khalid, a member of the government task force on Covid-19, said Pakistan would procure vaccines from various markets, English newspaper, Daily Dawn reported.
“There’s going to be an accumulation of vaccines, a consortium available, there’s going to be Chinese vaccines, there’s going to be AstraZeneca,” she said.
“We are the fifth biggest country in the world, and it’s going to be very difficult to immunise.”
The availability of free-of-cost Covid-19 vaccine seems to have been assured for Pakistan as Covax announced earlier this month that it will acquire 150 million doses in the first quarter and two billion doses by the end of the year.
It further said that, out of the two billion doses, 1.3bn will be provided to 92 lower-income economies. As a result of this agreement, the chances of Pakistan getting the free doses in the first quarter of the current year seem to have brightened.

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