Monday Feb 08 2021
Web Desk

Pak Army becomes first foreign military to receive coronavirus vaccine donation from China

Web Desk

  • ISPR says army to contribute vaccine in national vaccine drive
  • ISPR says contribution done under 'Pakistan Armed Forces' traditional spirit of nation comes first, always and every time' 
  • Vaccines will be administered to the front line healthcare workers across Pakistan, says military's media wing 

The Pakistan Army became the world's first foreign military on Monday to receive a coronavirus vaccine donation from the Chinese military, but decided to donate it to the national vaccine drive, the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

"People’s Liberation Army (PLA), People’s Republic of China has donated COVID-19 vaccine for Pakistan Armed Forces," said the ISPS in a statement.

The ISPR said that the army will not keep the vaccine for themselves, but instead contribute to the national vaccine drive.

Read more: Sindh reports sweeping irregularities in dispensing China's Sinopharm vaccine against COVID-19

The ISPR said that the contribution was done to keep with the "Pakistan Armed Forces' traditional spirit of nation comes first, always and every time". 

The military's media wing said that the vaccines will be administered to front line healthcare workers across Pakistan "who are real heroes fighting against the pandemic and saving precious lives". 

"Pakistan’s Armed forces extend their deepest gratitude to PLA and People’s Republic of China for this magnanimous donation during testing times," the statement read.

Read more: PM Imran Khan kicks off coronavirus vaccination drive in Pakistan

This is Pakistan's second consignment of the Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine.

Last week, The News had reported that close to half a million doses of the vaccine will be brought to Pakistan via a special flight of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force.

Pakistan has already received 500,000 doses of the Chinese vaccine, which is being used to inoculate frontline healthcare workers in the country. So far, over 12,000 frontline healthcare workers have already been vaccinated.

Health authorities in Pakistan had earlier confirmed that the country will get 6 to 7 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca’s AZD1222 vaccine by the end of the current month, which would be used to inoculate the remaining healthcare workers as well as people above 65 years of age.

Read more: 'No major reaction from coronavirus vaccine,' says Karachi health official

Due to lack of data, the Chinese vaccine is not recommended for people above 60 years of age.

Health authorities had said that through the COVAX facility Pakistan was expected to get at least 17 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca’s vaccine, while it is also hopeful of getting a few hundred thousand doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s mRNA vaccine “BNT162b2” in donation, for which Ultra Cold Chain (UCC) equipment is also being acquired.

Pakistan has so far granted emergency use authorisation for three vaccines — Sinopharm, AstraZeneca and Sputnik V developed by Russia — but so far only China’s Sinopharm vaccine has managed to reach the country.