1.5m doses from China to end Covid jab shortage in Pakistan

Dr Faisal says the country is slated to receive around 7 million vaccine doses by the end of June, mainly from China


Anadolu Agency June 19, 2021
PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

KARACHI:

The federal government has placed emergency orders for supplies of the coronavirus vaccines to overcome a countrywide jabs shortage, Dr Faisal Sultan, the adviser to the prime minister on health affairs, said on Saturday.

Talking to Anadolu Agency, he said that the country is set to receive fresh supplies of Covid-19 vaccines from Sunday.

The country, he said, is slated to receive around seven million vaccine doses by the end of June, mainly from China.

Islamabad will receive the first batch of the fresh supplies, possibly about 1.5 million doses, on Sunday.

Read more: Primary schools to resume classes from June 21 in Sindh

"The situation will be normalised from Monday after the arrival of the fresh supplies," Dr Faisal, also effectively acting as the health minister, noted.

"We still have 1 million doses in stock. But definitely, they are not enough to be distributed across the country," he went on to say.

Though Dr Faisal did not elaborate on what caused the shortages, a senior health official, wishing not to be named as he was not allowed to speak on the record, blamed a mix of bureaucratic labyrinths and delay in supplies of locally produced single-dose CanSino vaccines.

The state-run National Institute of Health (NIH) in Islamabad that produced the vaccine -- renamed as PakVac -- under the supervision of Chinese experts "failed" to provide the promised three million doses in June, according to the official.

Also read: Two million vaccine doses present in inventory: Dr Faisal

Meanwhile, authorities in the Sindh province have shut all vaccine centres for Sunday, whereas only a few centres are functioning in Punjab due to the ongoing jabs shortage.

Addressing a news conference in Karachi, Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah announced that there will be no vaccination on Sunday because of the vaccine paucity.

While, in Punjab, home to over 110 million people, out of 677 vaccination centres, only a few are functioning, according to media reports.

The province, according to health officials, required immediate supplies of 2.8 million doses to resume the normal course of vaccination.

Out of 207 million population, Pakistan has so far inoculated nearly 12 million people amid a decline in coronavirus cases. It plans to inoculate 70 million people by the end of this year.

On Saturday, the country recorded 991 cases with 27 deaths, pushing the overall caseload and death toll to 947,218 and 21,940, respectively.

Pakistan's total number of active cases is 35,491 with a tally of 889,787 recoveries.

 

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