Pakistan to receive 13.2M COVID vaccine doses by June

Pakistan to receive 13.2M COVID vaccine doses by June

Country has placed orders of total 30M jabs, says official

By Aamir Latif

KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) - Pakistan is set to receive another 13.2 million doses of coronavirus vaccine by the end of June, a top health official said on Monday.

Dr. Faisal Sultan, the adviser to the prime minister on health affairs, told reporters in the capital Islamabad that 90% of these doses have been purchased, whereas the remaining donated.

The country, he added, has placed orders for a total of 30 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, including the 13.2 million, to different companies.

So far, 5.8 million doses have been received and are being administered across the country, Sultan noted, saying the remaining 11 million jabs will be received in batches after June.

Although Sultan, who effectively acts as the health minister, did not specify the companies supposed to deliver the jabs, ministry officials said a major chunk would be provided by the Chinese companies.

The South Asian country is currently using China's Sinopharm and CanSino vaccines as well as Russia's Sputnik vaccine.

It was supposed to receive 17 million jabs of Oxford's AstraZeneca vaccine under the World Health Organization-led COVAX program in March, which was halted by a ban on the export of vaccines by neighboring India.

India, which itself is facing a shortage of the vaccine amid a devastating second wave of the pandemic, was given the contract to produce the doses under the COVAX program.

Germany, last month, promised to provide 15 million doses of the vaccine from Germany under the COVAX facility by May, however there was no word on that from Sultan.

Pakistan, a country of over 210 million population, has so far inoculated 2.1 million people.

Sultan said the country has gradually increased daily vaccinations from 30,000 to 150,000, and that "the target is to increase this capacity to 300,000."

Islamabad, he said, is about to begin production of China's single-dose CanSino vaccine locally, "which will reduce the country's dependence on foreign countries and companies.

Some 3 million doses will be prepared at the National Institute of Health Islamabad each month under this project, he added.

Pakistan was among the first countries to take part in the clinical trial of China's CanSino vaccine.

On Monday, Pakistan recorded another 4,213 new infections, pushing the national tally to 834,146.

The death toll rose by 79 over the past 24 hours, reaching 18,149, according to the Health Ministry data.

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