Pakistan Secures Doses of AstraZeneca Vaccine

Just recently, Pakistan made a deal with China to receive 500,000 doses of their vaccine, Sinopharm. Then on Saturday, the authorities were able to secure 17 million indicative doses of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca. It was announced that 35-40 percent of these doses, or rather 6 to 6.8 million, will be made available for use before the end of the first quarter of the current year. 

Dr. Faisal Sultan, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health, took to Twitter to announce the good news. He informed that 500,000 doses were previously secured from China and now 7 million more doses will be made available soon. He also added that the public will be given the vaccine free of cost. 

Moreover, the Minister added that the vaccination drive in Pakistan will begin in the next week. Healthcare workers will be given top priority for the administration of the vaccine. 

Asad Umar, the Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives, leads the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC), set up to battle the coronavirus pandemic. He too shared the good news and stated that the government entered into contractual agreements with Covax almost eight months ago. The agreements stipulated the availability of the vaccine to the country. 

Furthermore, the Minister informed that at least 6 million doses of the vaccine will be received by the country in March. However, the delivery will begin in February. 

Dr. Faisal Sultan also shared a press release in which he revealed that the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has officially approved the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the country. 

The statement also added that the timely delivery of the vaccine and support of COVAX is proof that stakeholders all over the world have faith that Pakistan is ready to roll out the vaccine. Dr. Faisal Sultan went on to express confidence that the government of the country will be able to help immunize the large number of citizens over the next couple of months. 

On the 28th of January, the federal government gave permission to bring in three vaccines of the coronavirus. This included Sinopharm from China, Sputnik-V from Russia, and Oxford-AstraZeneca from UK. The third vaccine’s availability was ensured for emergency use in Pakistan and a step-by-step guide was also issued for this purpose. 

Asad Umar announced that the frontline health workers in the country, who have been working hard since the pandemic first took over the country, will be at the top of the priority list for vaccination. They will be given the vaccine as soon as the vaccination campaign begins. The minister tweeted for healthcare workers to be prepared to receive the vaccine in the beginning of the next week. 

Additionally, Asad Umar confirmed that the relevant authorities have finalized a plan for the vaccination of the citizens of the country. Hundreds of vaccination centers in the country have been established for the sole purpose of administering the coronavirus vaccine, as per the minister’s tweet.