Islamabad, May 8 (PTI) Pakistan received 1.23 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine under the COVAX facility on Saturday, as the country expands its immunisation drive and a locally-manufactured dose enters the final stages of quality check.
Pakistan’s National Control and Operation Center (NCOC) and the European Union Delegation, Pakistan, confirmed the arrival of the first batch of jabs under the international initiative.
“Today Pakistan received its first shipment of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines (SII-AZ AZD1222) from the COVAX Facility,” said the EU delegation.
The EU said the consignment of 1,238,400 doses will be followed by another consignment of 1,236,000 doses in a few days.
It said further allocations from June onwards will be confirmed in due course, adding that the goal of the COVAX facility was to supply Pakistan with enough doses to vaccinate 20 per cent of the population depending on availability.
Special Assistant on Health Faisal Sultan received the consignment along with representatives of COVAX technical and funding partners.
In this unprecedented crisis, we appreciate COVAX and GAVI’s contribution to the collective effort to fight COVID-19 in Pakistan, said Sultan.He said Pakistan has been administering almost 200,000 doses a day and will be able to increase it to 0.5 million doses a day very soon.
I urge everyone above the age of 40 to register and get vaccinated so we can continue our mission to immunise our fellow citizens, especially the ones who fall in the high-risk and vulnerable groups, he said.
COVAX is co-led by CEPI, Gavi and the World Health Organisation (WHO), working in partnership with developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers, UNICEF, the World Bank, among other stakeholders.
It is the only global initiative that is working with governments and manufacturers to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are available worldwide to both higher-income and lower-income countries.
The NCOC said so far 10.19 million doses of different vaccines (Sinopharm, Sinovac and CanSino) have been received in Pakistan.
On May 9, Pakistan will receive 1 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine, followed by 1 million doses on May 13 or 15 of the same and another 1.5 million doses by the end of May.
Separately, Pakistan has announced that its locally processed coronavirus vaccine, Cansino, would be available for use by the end of May.
Minister for Planning Asad Umar said: The first batch of bulk Cansino vaccine being processed at the National Institute of Health plant (in Islamabad) set up for this purpose last month. Specially trained team working on it. Will inshallah be available for use by the end of May after going through rigorous quality control checks, he said.
Pakistan reported 4,109 new coronavirus cases the last 24 hours, taking the nation tally to 854,240. Another 120 people died in the same period, pushing the COVID-19 death toll to 18,797. Another 4,986 patients are critical in the country.