Pakistan starts Covid-19 vaccination drive with Chinese shots

ISLAMABAD – The national immunization drive against Covid-19 formally began across the country on Wednesday. The healthcare staffers were administered with first shots of Sinopharm vaccine at a special ceremony held at the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) in Islamabad, according to the officials.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Planning and Development, Asad Umar said the health workers are real heroes in the fight against the pandemic.

“This is the reason that it was decided to administer the vaccine to the health workers in the first phase,” he said.

The minister also appreciated China for providing the vaccine to Pakistan. He said China is true friend of Pakistan that has always stood by the country in difficult times. He said it is because of the government’s effective strategy and the cooperation of the people that the country managed to control spread of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, briefing the media persons at the NCOC here, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Health Services, Dr. Faisal Sultan said that an effective mechanism has been developed to ensure administration of anti-Covid vaccine to the people.

Asad Umar says health workers are real heroes

He said adult vaccine centers have been established across the country, which currently have the capacity to administer vaccine to 40,000 people on daily basis. He said this capacity will be enhanced further in the days to come. He said the Sinapharm vaccine gifted by China to Pakistan is an effective and trusted vaccine. He said it is being used in China and has also been authorized in Egypt and Hungary. He told media that Covax has promised to provide 17 million doses of anti-Covid vaccine.

Seven million doses will be received in the first quarter whilst the remaining ten million doses in the next quarter, he added. He said, “It is our desire that the vaccine reach the seventy percent population by the end of this year.”

The country on Wednesday morning reported 56 more deaths due to the Covid-19 during last 24 hours, taking the toll to 11,802. According to the latest statistics, 1384 new cases of Coronavirus surfaced in the country during the last 24 hours after the tests of 35,460 people. There are now 33, 184 active cases in the country. As many as 504,046 people have so far recovered from the disease, according to the officials.

Simultaneous inauguration ceremonies were held in major cities of all provinces as well as in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan, and attended by the respective chief executives and other high ranking officials.

Planning Minister Asad Umar, who is also the chair of the NCOC, spoke to all the federating units through video link along with prime minister’s aide Dr Faisal Sultan ahead of the inoculations. NCOC officials including Lt Gen Hamooduz Zaman Khan were also present along with Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar while China’s Commercial Minister Xie Guoxiang was the chief guest.

Addressing the ceremonies via video link, Umar paid tribute to the frontline health workers for their sacrifices and meritorious services and termed them as the real heroes.

The planning minister further said that the holding of simultaneous inaugural ceremonies reflected a national effort and collaboration between the provinces and the federal government in the fight against the contagion.

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