On Tuesday evening, Prime Minister Imran Khan oversaw the commencement of Pakistan’s coronavirus vaccine programme, with a doctor in Islamabad being given the first jab.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark the start of the campaign, the premier congratulated the health team of his government for working quickly to procure the vaccine and thanked China for donating to Pakistan 500,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine.
He clarified that the vaccine will first be provided to health staff who deal with patients with Covid-19, followed by older people in the high-risk age group.
“This (vaccine) is being distributed equitably among all the provinces so no one thinks we’ve provided more of it to one province,” he said.
Prime Minister Imran encouraged all healthcare staff, saying they were most at risk, to get the vaccine. He also called for the public to follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs) of Covid-19 to wear a mask.
If, as compared to the rest of the world, Allah has blessed Pakistan, we should be grateful for that and take full precautions,”If Allah has blessed Pakistan as compared to the rest of the world, we should be grateful for that and take full precautions,” “If there is anything that slows the spread of the virus, it is a mask.”
He said the government had reopened schools and would do the same for hospitals, and that there were ‘falling’ cases of Pakistan’s Covid-19. But he emphasised that in order to save lives, it was necessary for individuals to obey the SOPs.
Look at what’s happened in Europe, America, they’ve got more than 400,000 deaths, while there’s a full lockdown in Britain,’ the prime minister said, adding that while some Western countries had shut down their markets, the economy of Pakistan was running and sanctions were just in the service sector.
“If you take precautions, we will open the other sectors as well.”
A doctor was given the country’s first Covid-19 vaccine shot before the premier’s speech as Imran and his special health advisor, Dr Faisal Sultan, stood watching.
Pakistan has so far reported more than 547,000 infections since registering its first coronavirus cases on 26 February last year, while 11,746 people have lost their lives due to the disease.
Early on Monday morning, the first batch of vaccines donated by China entered Islamabad from Beijing on a special Pakistan Air Force aircraft.
The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) reported in a statement on Tuesday evening that the first tranche of the Covid vaccine had entered all federating units, adding that the doses for Sindh and Balochistan had been dispatched by air. It said the inoculation drive for the provinces would begin on Wednesday (tomorrow).
Since reporting the first coronavirus cases on 26 February last year, Pakistan has so far registered more than 547,000 infections, while 11,746 people have lost their lives due to the disease.
The first shipment of vaccines donated by China reached Islamabad from Beijing on a special Pakistan Air Force aircraft early on Monday morning.
In a statement on Tuesday evening, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) announced that the first tranche of the Covid vaccine had reached all federating units, adding that the doses for Sindh and Balochistan had been dispatched by air. The inoculation drive for the provinces will commence on Wednesday, it said (tomorrow).
The government has also approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and Russia’s Sputnik V shot for emergency use in Pakistan, in addition to the Sinopharm vaccine.
Planning Minister Asad Umar declared on Saturday that the government had received a letter from Covax saying that Pakistan would be given 17 million doses of the Astra-Zeneca vaccine in the first half of 2021.
Of the 17m doses, by March, 7m will be available, Umar said.