Tuesday, June 18, 2024

PIA plane lands in Islamabad with 500,000 Sinopharm vaccine doses

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A vial of the Sinopharm vaccine. — AFP/File

BEIJING: A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane on Tuesday landed with 500,000 Sinopharm vaccine doses  in Islamabad from Beijing Capital International Airport.

Another 500,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine will be transported from China to Pakistan on Wednesday morning via the national flag carrier, Qadir Bux Sangi, PIA Country Manager for China told APP.

Last Sunday, a special flight PK6852 transported a consignment of 500,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine from Beijing to Islamabad.

The government has decided to run a massive vaccination drive across the country and inoculate 70 million doses to fight the pandemic. So far, nearly 5.3 million people have been vaccinated.

A Chinese foreign ministry’s spokesperson, in a statement, said China has always attached great importance to Pakistan’s demand for vaccines to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic and carried out close cooperation with the country.

“Chinese vaccines manufacturers have cooperated with Pakistan in the development and production of vaccines from the very beginning and will continue to export vaccines to Pakistan,” he said.

The Pakistani health authorities had launched a nationwide vaccination drive with around a million doses of Sinopharm vaccine donated by China, starting with older people and frontline healthcare workers, in March.

The drive began with a focus on the oldest people in the community, generally over the age of 80, and worked its way down.

Initially, the government had to deal with vaccination hesitancy and a shortage of vaccine supplies and had limited shots for people aged 30 or over.

Islamabad received the first COVID-19 vaccine consignment after a military aircraft transported it from Beijing on February 1, this year.

DRAP gives emergency approval for Pfizer’s vaccine

A day earlier, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan gave emergency approval for Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine — and now the local population can be inoculated with it.

The DRAP Registration Board also approved the vaccine’s use for children above 12 years of age, thus becoming the first vaccine that can be administered to children in Pakistan.

“This vaccine will be administered to people with low immunity, including, pregnant women and aspiring pilgrims (hajjis) who are above 40,” DRAP officials further told The News.

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