More Than 20% Of Citizens Aged 50 And Above Given The First Jab

Asad Umar, the Minister for Planning, revealed on Sunday that around 20.6% of the citizens of Pakistan, who are aged 50 and above, have been given at least the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine. 

The head of the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) went on to elaborate that the country is home to no less than 20.7 million people, who are either 50 years of age or even older. Out of this figure, 5.6 million have had the first jab administered. 

He urged the people to ask their relatives and other senior citizens around them to get vaccinated at the earliest. He added that it is vital for the people in this age group to receive the vaccination because they are the most vulnerable to the side effects and symptoms of the deadly coronavirus. 

As of now, the relevant authorities of the government are thinking about implementing a number of measures in light of the fourth wave of the coronavirus. This will include placing an air travel ban on all those who have not yet been vaccinated, in order to curb the rise in the number of infections. 

The NCOC also previously informed that the Delta variant is even more dangerous than other mutations of the novel coronavirus, even the Indian variant. It said that various cases of the Delta variant had been reported in the country, triggering the fourth wave. The center encouraged people to strictly abide by the standard operating procedures (SOPs), set forth to protect against the virus. According to it, any laxity could lead to a myriad of serious consequences. 

In addition, the process of vaccination was also expedited by the NCOC. For this reason, the government is acquiring more doses of the vaccine from different sources, which also includes the COVAX facility, provided by the World Health Organization (WHO). 

Most of the vaccines that arrived in the country this month were from its trusted ally, China. The neighboring country had previously delivered several million jabs of Sinopharm, Sinovac, and CanSinoBio vaccines. Furthermore, Pakistan has received three batches of the Moderna, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca vaccines. 

The first batch of vaccines that the country received through COVAX consisted mainly of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The second batch that arrived later comprised 106,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Just recently, 2.5 million jabs of the Moderna vaccine were shipped to Pakistan, which was donated by the US, as part of the COVAX facility. 

In other news, Asad Umar also announced that the country needs to prioritize a reduction in the growth of population, in order to have a meaningful impact on some of the important development areas. 

He explained that if Pakistan possessed the ability to ensure quality education to half the kids in the country, then it could accommodate each and every child admitted to primary school in 10 years. However, this could only be possible if the population growth rate falls and aligns with that of Bangladesh. The country could potentially pay for the education of secondary school children as well in 15 years with a decline in population.