Pakistan Begins Providing COVID-19 Vaccines As Deaths Reach 11,800

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Pakistan launched its Covid-19 vaccine drive on Tuesday at a ceremony in capital Islamabad attended by Prime Minister Imran Khan in which Dr. Rana Sikander, the head of the COVID-19 war at PIMS, was the first to receive the shot.

Around 500,000 doses of vaccine produced by Sinopharm and donated by China had arrived in Pakistan on a military plane on Monday, allowing authorities to kickstart a nationwide inoculation campaign starting with health workers.

“I congratulate my team…I will tell all the health workers that it is necessary for them to get vaccinated because they are the ones who are most exposed to risk,” Khan said in an address during the televised ceremony.

Graphic: SAMAA TV

The Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines are being transported around the South Asian country and will begin to be administered in areas outside the capital on Wednesday, according to the federal agency overseeing the pandemic response.

The vaccine has an efficacy of 79% to 86% and will be administered to people in Egypt, Hungary, China as well.

Pakistan has also been pledged 17 million doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca’s vaccine under a global scheme to deliver coronavirus treatments to developing nations.

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About 6 million doses will arrive by the end of March under the COVAX scheme, with the remainder due by mid-year, the government’s main health adviser said last week.

Pakistan, a country of 223 million people, has reported 549,032 cases, with 11,802 fatalities.