Pakistan to begin coronavirus vaccination drive from today

Asad Umar, Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Planning Development and Special Initiatives, said the country would start its vaccination drive from today.

“COVID-19 vaccination drive will start today in the presence of Prime Minister Imran Khan while in the provincial capitals it will start from tomorrow”.

He said that the health workers would be the first to get the vaccine shots.

A Pakistan Air Force (PAF) aircraft has returned from China yesterday with the first consignment of COVID-19 vaccines which were pledged by Beijing to Islamabad recently, the country’s health advisor, Dr. Faisal Sultan, confirmed the development on Monday.

“We are very thankful to the government of China for selecting Pakistan as the first country in the world to gift the [COVID19] vaccine,” SAPM Dr. Faisal Sultan said in a video message post.

He added that frontline health workers will be administered the vaccine in the first phase.

Necessary steps taken

In a statement on Sunday, the National Command and Operations Center (NCOC), which serves as the nerve centre of the government’s unified effort against Covid-19, said that the necessary steps had been taken to store the vaccine in Islamabad.

“All necessary measures have been put in place for vaccine storage at Islamabad and move of vaccine to various federating units particularly to Sindh and Balochistan through the air,” it added.

The NCOC has also set up a vaccine nerve center “with the provincial and district level vaccine administration and coordination and adult vaccination centers.”

6 million doses of vaccine to arrive by March

NCOC chief Asad Umar earlier shared the news that Pakistan will receive up to 17 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine by first half of 2021.

In a tweet, Umar posted that about 6 million will be received by March with delivery starting in February.

Corona update (Data via NCOC)

As the government begins vaccinating healthcare personnel from today, to date 13, 807 healthcare professionals have been infected with the novel coronavirus while 133 have died across Pakistan.

According to the latest statistics, the COVID-19 cases in the country stand at 547,648, while total deaths total 11,746. The recoveries are currently at a total of 502,537.

Abdullah Zahid

Abdullah Zahid is TPD's correspondent in Karachi. He reports on Pakistani political affairs.

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