More than one million doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine
delivered to Pakistan
Pakistan has received its first shipment of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX facility on May 8.
The consignment of 1,238,400 doses of vaccines, which will be followed by another of 1,236,000 in a few days, will support Pakistan government’s vaccination drive to bring the pandemic to an end. Further allocations from June onwards will be confirmed in due course.
Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine received by Pakistan were manufactured by SK Bioscience in South Korea. “It has gone through rigorous processes to ensure safety and efficacy and has been given the greenlight by the World Health Organization to be rolled out globally” official statement said.
COVAX vaccines to cover 20% of Pakistan’s population
COVAX facility would supply Pakistan with enough doses to vaccinate 20% of the population depending on availability.
“In this unprecedented crisis, we appreciate COVAX and GAVI’s contribution to the collective effort to fight COVID-19 in Pakistan,” said Dr. Faisal Sultan, special assistant to the prime minister on health.
Pakistan has been administering almost 200,000 doses a day and will be able to increase to 0.5 million doses a day very soon, he said, urging everyone above the age of 40 to register via text message to get vaccinated. Citizens above the age of 50 can walk into the nearest center and get vaccinated.
3.3 million vaccinated in Pakistan
More than 3.3 million vaccine doses have been administered to healthcare workers and Pakistani citizens. The Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination also ramped up the cold chain capacity of the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) to meet the requirements of the vaccine deployment plan.
Sinopharm, Sinovac, CanSino and Sputnik vaccine doses have been administered in Pakistan so far.
The 2.47 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine will be used to immunize about 1.24 million high-risk people against the virus.
COVAX initiative to speed up vaccination
Dr. Palitha Gunarathna Mahipala, WHO Representative in Pakistan said that “This vaccine has gone through clinical trials and has been approved for use in Pakistan and around the world.”
Over the past year, “WHO has been standing side by side with the Government of Pakistan providing technical guidance and new tools needed to prepare for, prevent, detect and respond to the spread of this new virus. Today, we are delighted to receive the COVID-19 vaccine that will safely and effectively prevent needless suffering.”
COVAX, a global partnership, is co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), along with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to ensure that safe, effective COVID-19 vaccines are rapidly available to all countries around the world.
“This delivery – the first of many – is the product of an unprecedented global partnership to ensure no country is left behind in the global race for COVID-19 vaccines,” said Alexa Reynolds, Gavi Senior Country Manager for Pakistan. “These vaccines are safe, they are effective, and they will play an important role in helping the country to end this pandemic.”
“UNICEF is proud to be leading efforts to procure and supply safe, effective and affordable COVID-19 vaccines on behalf of the COVAX facility which aims to quickly reach people in low and middle-income countries and ensures that no one at risk is left behind,” said Aida Girma, UNICEF Representative in Pakistan.
UNICEF commended the Government of Pakistan for its leadership in the national response to the pandemic, including the successful roll-out of the national vaccination programme, and thanked the COVAX partners for their generous contribution.