Islamabad, January 30
Pakistan will send a special plane to China on Sunday to bring back the first batch of the 500,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine that Beijing has promised to provide to its close ally.
The National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), during a meeting here on the strategy of vaccine administration, said on Saturday that the country is geared up for the vaccination programme.
“The forum was apprised that a special plane will fly to China tomorrow (Sunday) for transportation of the first tranche of vaccine,” according to a statement from the NCOC.
The move comes after Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on January 21, following a call with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, had announced that China will provide 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Pakistan by January 31.
He said that Beijing had asked Islamabad to send an airplane to get the vaccines.
Pakistan has approved two foreign anti-COVID vaccines as of now, including the Chinese Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine, for emergency use in the country.
All necessary measures have been put in place for vaccine storage at Islamabad and distribute the vaccine to various federating units particularly to Sindh and Balochistan provinces, the statement said.
The vaccine nerve centre has been established at the NCOC with provincial and district level vaccine administration across the country for vaccination in a systematic manner, it said.
Pakistan plans to provide vaccines to frontline health workers and elderly people in the first phase.
Meanwhile, a senior Pakistan minister said that the country would get up to 17 million doses of anti-coronavirus vaccine in the first half of this year.
Asad Umar , who is the minister for planning, in a tweet said that the vaccine would be provided by Covax, which is an alliance set up in April last year by Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the World Health Organisation.
“Good news on COVID vaccine front received letter from Covax of indicative supply of up to 17 million doses of AstraZeneca in 1st half 2021,” said Umar.
He also said that “about 6 million will be received by March with delivery starting in February,” he added.
The number of COVID-19 cases in the country has reached 543,214 after 2,179 new infections were reported in the last 24 hours, according to the ministry of National Health Services.
Another 65 patients died in this period, taking the number of COVID-19 deaths to 11,623 while some 2,111 patients were in a critical condition.
Also, 498,152 people have recovered so far, which means that the number of active patients was 33,439. The authorities performed 41,435 tests in the last one day. It showed that the positivity rate was 5.25 per cent. PTI