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Tuesday Feb 02 2021
Web Desk

Pakistan's coronavirus vaccination drive to start today: Asad Umar

Web Desk
Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar.
  • Countrywide vaccination will start from February 3.
  • Pakistan received 500,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine from China.
  • Balochistan asks Centre to increase its quota of vaccines. 

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar on Tuesday said the country would start its vaccination drive from today.

The federal minister, who also oversees the national coronavirus strategy, said, “COVID-19 vaccination drive will start today in the presence of Prime Minister Imran Khan while in the provincial capitals it will start from tomorrow”.

He said that the health workers would be the first to get the vaccine shots.

On Monday, Pakistan received 0.5 million doses of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine from China which is being distributed across all the provinces through land and air.

Read more: Vaccinate against coronavirus at 'your own risk', says Punjab health minister citing 'side effects'

‘5,000 doses not enough’

The Balochistan government has asked the federal government to increase its quota of COVID-19 vaccines as 5,000 doses can not cater to the requirement.

While talking to Geo Pakistan, the provincal government's spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani said there are 22,000 healthcare workers in the province while it  would only get 5,000 doses.

“We request the federal government to provide more vaccines,” he said, adding that the provincial authorities have established vaccination centres in Quetta, Lasbela, Chaghi and Turbat.

Read more: Here's how you can get the COVID-19 vaccine in Pakistan

Sindh gets 8,300 doses

The Sindh government received 8,300 doses of COVID-19 vaccine which will be transported to Karachi via a commercial flight in the evening.

A ceremony will be held at the CM House in Karachi on Wednesday to kickstart the vaccination drive in Sindh during which 41,500 healthcare workers will be vaccinated.

‘NCOC hails Punjab’s arrangements’

Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid said that a team of experts has appreciated the vaccine distribution arrangements in Punjab.

The provincial minister also cautioned that corona vaccines may carry certain side effects; therefore, one should get it at one’s own risk.

“The Punjab will start vaccinating people in the next two days,” she said while addressing a press conference here at the Directorate General of Public Relations (DGPR) on Monday.

“We have been conveyed by the NCOC that all chief ministers shall simultaneously inaugurate a vaccination drive in their respective provinces. The NCOC technical team has appreciated the cold chain arrangements in Punjab.”

Read more: Pakistan thanks Chinese President Xi Jinping for COVID-19 vaccine gift

Pakistan’s vaccine strategy

The Sinopharm vaccine was moved to a storage facility at Islamabad’s central storage facility and after ensuring all health guidelines requirement the same vaccine was being to federating units through dedicated move plan finalised by the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC).

Despatch of vaccine to Sindh, Balochistan and GB will be by air to reduce time and ensure cold chain storage temperature.

The entire first tranche of the vaccine will be administered to frontline health care workers the real heroes of Pakistan’s response to COVID and who have been fighting this pandemic saving precious lives as per the outlined priority of the NCOC and all stakeholders.

The authorities have established Adult Vaccine Administration across the country and an inoculation process is in place supported by the digital mechanism.

For adult vaccine administration of the first tranche, there have been 189 designated health care facilities in Punjab, 14 in Sindh, 280 in KP, 44 in Balochistan, 14 in ICT, 25 in AJK and 16 in GB for the complete vaccine administration process.

The NCOC will act as the nerve centre while designated core centres have been established at the provincial / district and Tehsil level. The entire process is managed through a digital National immunisation management system ( NIMS) with minimum human intervention.