Pakistan to get 4 million more anti-Covid vaccines from China within days
ISLAMABAD, July 5: Pakistan is expecting four million more Chinese Covid vaccines this week, the authorities here said on Sunday evening.
The vaccines, according to the Ministry of Health, will be Sinopharm and Sinovac brands. The ministry said 700, 000 doses of the Chinese vaccine Sinopharm had already arrived in Pakistan from China while another 1.3 million doses of the same vaccine are expected to reach the country today (Monday).
In all, Pakistan will receive 2 million doses each of Sinopharm and Sinovac in the next four days, said a ministry spokesperson. Pakistan has been using mainly Chinese vaccines, although others are also available.
“Planes carrying two million doses of the Sinovac vaccine are expected to arrive in Pakistan on Monday and Wednesday,” he said.
On June 22, a special flight of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) PK-6852 airlifted two million doses of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine from the Beijing Capital International Airport to Islamabad. The government aims at inoculating 70 million people by year's end.
Pakistani health authorities launched a nationwide vaccination drive with around a million doses of Sinopharm vaccine donated by China, starting with older people and frontline healthcare workers, in March.
Islamabad received the first COVID-19 vaccine consignment after a military aircraft transported it from Beijing on February 1, this year.
The drive began with a focus on the oldest people in the community, generally over the age of 80 and worked its way down.
Initially, the government had to deal with vaccination hesitancy and a shortage of vaccine supplies and had limited shots for people aged 30 or over.
Now vaccines are available for people aged over 18 years. The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) had earlier revised the guidelines for two-dose Chinese vaccines, increasing the gap between the doses to six weeks.
The two-dose SinoVac and Sinopharm vaccines were initially administered with a four-week gap which has now been increased to six weeks.
The Sindh provincial government had said that those citizens who had already received one dose of Sinopharm, will still get their second dose after the earlier set 21-day gap. Similarly, those having received one dose of Sinovac, will get their second dose after four weeks, as was the earlier practice.
The provincial health department said that the new rule, of a six-week gap, applied to those who will get inoculated for the first time after the announcement of the decision.