A Pakistani military plane brought back the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines from China on Monday, the country’s health advisor Faisal Sultan said.
China’s envoy in Islamabad would officially hand over the 500,000 doses of vaccine made by Sinopharm later on Monday so that Pakistan can start its vaccination campaign this week.
“Thank God the first batch of Sinopharm vaccine has arrived! Grateful to China and everyone who made this possible,” Sultan said in a statement posted on Twitter.
“I applaud our frontline health workers for their efforts and they will be vaccinated first,” he said.
Pakistan has asked China for another million cans. In addition, 17 million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine have been pledged as part of a global program to deliver coronavirus treatments to developing countries.
About 6 million cans will arrive under the COVAX program by the end of March, with the rest due by the middle of the year, Sultan announced last week.
Pakistan, a country of 220 million people, reported 1,615 new infections and 26 deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 546,428 with 11,683 deaths.
“All eligible citizens by phase will be informed as soon as the vaccination process begins,” announced the Ministry of Health on its website.
Pakistan joined the World Health Organization-coordinated vaccine-sharing program last year in support of lower-income countries.
Pakistan has approved both emergency vaccines and will review their approval on a quarterly basis.
The Russian Sputnik-V vaccine is also set to be approved for emergency use, as the Pakistani drug regulator has accepted their data.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and posted from a syndicated feed.)