'Good news': Pakistan secures 17m doses of AstraZeneca vaccine

6 to 6.8 million doses of vaccine will be available within first quarter of current year, says SAPM Dr Faisal Sultan


News Desk January 30, 2021
Vials with a sticker reading, "Covid-19 / Coronavirus vaccine / Injection only" and a medical syringe are seen in front of a displayed AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken October 31, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

In addition to the 500,000 doses of Sinopharm from China, Pakistan on Saturday secured 17 million indicative doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, out of which 35-40 per cent or 6 to 6.8 million doses will be available within the first quarter of the current year.

"Happy to share that in addition to the 500,000 doses of Sinopharm, almost 7 million does [doses] of AstraZeneca to be made available in Q1 and given to the public free of cost," Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan wrote on his official Twitter handle.

He said that the country's vaccination drive will start from next week, beginning with frontline healthcare workers.

 

Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, who heads the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) to fight coronavirus pandemic, also shared the ‘good news’, saying that the government had signed with Covax nearly eight months back to ensure its availability.

"Good news on covid vaccine front. Recieved [received] letter from Covax of indicative supply of up to 17 million doses of AstraZeneca in 1st half 2021. About 6 million will be recieved [received] by March with delivery starting in Feb. We signed with Covax nearly 8 months back to ensure availability," Asad tweeted.

 

A press release, shared by Dr Faisal Sultan, said that AstraZeneca vaccine has already been approved for use in Pakistan by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP).

"COVAX's timely support and delivery of the vaccine is a testament of the global stakeholders' trust in Pakistan's preparedness for vaccine roll-out," it added,

Read More: Explainer: How to get the Covid vaccine in Pakistan

Dr Faisal Sultan expressed confidence that the government will meet the plane of large scale immunisation over the coming months this year.

On January 28, the federal government gave the green light for three Covid-19 vaccines including Russia’s Sputnik-V, China’s Sinopharm and UK’s Oxford-AstraZeneca for emergency use in the country for which a step-by-step guide was also issued.

Asad Umar had said that the frontline health workers would be among the first recipients of the vaccine. “God willing, the vaccination of frontline health workers will start next week,” the minister tweeted.

The minister confirmed that the plan for vaccination had been finalised. “The system for vaccination is in place. Hundreds of vaccination centres in the country will be administering covid vaccine,” he added in his tweet.


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