ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has received 1.2 million doses of AstraZeneca via the World Health Organisation’s COVAX facility, according to the National Health Ministry.
A private airplane carrying the doses landed at the Islamabad International Airport on Saturday. The WHO’s COVAX programme seeks to provide vaccines to countries across the world.
Last month, the United States sent 2.5 million Moderna doses to Pakistan which were used on those who had to travel for work or study to countries that were only accepting certain vaccines.
A tranche of Pfizer and Chinese vaccines reached the country this month too.
Earlier, the Pakistan Health Ministry issued guidelines for the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine which said that people below 40 years should not get the shot.
The national health ministry recommended the shot for:
People over 40 years
Those with diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and other stable chronic disorders
Those with mild COVID-19 once the isolation period is complete
Those with severe COVID-19 once they become stable
Chronically immunosuppressed people, though efficacy may be lower
The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine has two doses which will be given 12 weeks apart.
Vaccination in Pakistan
On Friday, National Command and Operation Centre chief Asad Umar said that for the past four days Pakistan was vaccinating over 500,000 people every day.
“This is a record but the number is still less,” he pointed out. “We have the capacity to vaccinate more people every day.”
The government has urged people to get immunised as soon as possible as the Delta variant cases rise in the country. People vaccinated against the virus have a seven times less chance of catching the variant, Umar said.
So far, 20 million people across the country have been vaccinated, the minister revealed. “There are still 125 million people above the age of 18 years who are yet to be inoculated.”
On Friday, the infection rate of the virus increased to 6.1% in the country. The district administrations have started imposing smart lockdowns in multiple cities.