Thursday May 27, 2021
Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination on Thursday issued a statement on the Sinopharm vaccine, after a spate of confusion and misinformation surrounding its availability and use in Pakistan was seen among people.
According to a statement issued by the ministry on Twitter, the Sinopharm vaccine is available in Pakistan and is currently being administered to people.
The statement said that all such rumours that Sinopharm is no longer available in the country are false.
It added that people who were given Sinopharm as their first dose, will be administered Sinopharm for their second dose.
The ministry further said that Pakistan is working to acquire more doses of Sinopharm.
Earlier this month, as people complained that the vaccine is unavailable and reports of it being banned in Pakistan emerged, Sindh government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab had clarified it is not banned, and simply fresh doses of the vaccine had been "stopped for the time being".
The government on Wednesday opened up its coronavirus vaccination campaign to everyone aged 19 or older.
Pakistan initially had to deal with vaccination hesitancy and a shortage of vaccine supplies and had limited shots to people aged 30 or over.
But with purchases and donations from China and allocations from the World Health Organisation and the GAVI Vaccine Alliance, it has now secured more than 18 million doses and is keen to get them out into the population.
"We decided to open up vaccination registration for all 19 years and above," Asad Umar, minister in-charge of supervising anti-COVID operations, said in a post on Twitter.
People can sign up from Thursday, he said.
"So now registration will be open for the entire national population which is approved by health experts for COVID vaccination," Umar said.
Pakistan has reported more than 900,000 coronavirus infections since the outbreak.
In the last 24 hours, 62,706 tests were conducted for coronavirus out of which 2,726 returned positive.
At least 75 more people have lost their lives to coronavirus in the last 24 hours, pushing the total death tally to 20,540 across the country.
The country has administered 5.3 million vaccine doses with supplies from three Chinese companies — Sinopharm, Sinovac and CanSinbio — and the Oxford-AstraZeneca shots.
Pakistan's private sector has imported nearly 50,000 doses of Russia's Sputnik-V vaccine.
— With additional input from Reuters