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Wednesday Mar 24 2021

Pakistan to get AstraZeneca vaccine for free via COVAX: sources

Vials labelled "Astra Zeneca COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine" and a syringe are seen in front of a displayed AstraZeneca logo, in this illustration photo taken March 14, 2021. — Reuters/File

  • Those below the age of 18 will not be administered the vaccine.
  • AstraZeneca vaccine safe for pregnant and lactating women.
  • Inoculated people might experience light fever or body pain.

Pakistan will get the coronavirus vaccine AstraZeneca for free in the coming days through the COVAX scheme, sources said Wednesday, with the government approving the vaccine’s rollout.

The federal government, according to sources, has approved the inoculation SOPs forAstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine after a nod from the National Expert Committee.

As per the standard operating procedures, two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be administered with a 12-week gap, while it will be stored at a temperature of 2-8 degree Celsius.

According to the issued guidelines, the vaccine will be administered to people over the age of 18 while those suffering from fever won't be able to receive the jab.

Similarly, people who test positive for the virus will not be able to get the jab while the guidelines said a person who has recovered from the virus will be inoculated.

Those who receive the jab may experience slight body pain, said the guidelines, allaying concerns that the vaccine will be safe for pregnant and lactating women.

It is pertinent to mention here that the World Health Organisation has given approval for the use of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine.

Earlier, it was announced that Pakistan, Nigeria, and Indonesia would be among the biggest recipients of free COVID-19 vaccines as part of the COVAX scheme before June — with each country getting more than 10 million doses each. 

Some 238.2 million doses would be distributed around the world by the end of May through the programme, which is aimed at boosting access to coronavirus jabs in poorer nations.

Though vaccination campaigns have gathered pace globally, the majority of injections have been administered in wealthier countries while many nations have yet to receive a single dose.

The five biggest confirmed recipients are Pakistan (14,640,000 doses), Nigeria (13,656,000), Indonesia (11,704,800), Bangladesh (10,908,000) and Brazil (9,122,400).