Tuesday Jul 06, 2021
BEIJING: A special plane of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) PK-6853 airlifted two million doses of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine from the Beijing Capital International Airport to Islamabad on Tuesday.
This special flight of the national flag carrier is in addition to the special flight PK-6852 which transported two million doses of the Sinovac vaccine from China to Pakistan in last month, Qadir Bux Sangi, PIA Country Manager for China told APP.
According to official sources, around two million more Chinese COVID vaccines will be brought to Pakistan from China in the next few days.
Up to 700,000 doses of the Chinese vaccine Sinopharm had already arrived in Pakistan from China while another 1.3 million doses of the same vaccine are expected to reach the country very soon.
On June 22, a special flight of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) PK-6852 airlifted two million doses of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine from the Beijing Capital International Airport to Islamabad.
The government aims at inoculating 70 million people by year's end.
Islamabad received the first COVID-19 vaccine consignment after a military aircraft transported it from Beijing on February 1, this year.
Pakistani health authorities had launched the nationwide vaccination drive with around a million doses of Sinopharm vaccine donated by China, starting with older people and frontline healthcare workers, in March.
Pakistan has mainly been using Chinese vaccines Sinopharm and Sinovac for its mass vaccination campaign.
The drive began with a focus on the oldest people in the community, generally over the age of 80 and worked its way down.
Initially, the government had to deal with vaccination hesitancy and a shortage of vaccine supplies and had limited shots for people aged 30 or over.
Now vaccines are available for the people aged over 18 years and the government has urged everyone to get vaccinated and play their part in stemming the spread of the virus.
Meanwhile, the National Institute of Health "continues to monitor the presence of different variants of coronavirus in Pakistan via whole-genome sequencing of COVID-19 samples", said a statement.
According to the statement, samples collected in late May and the first half of June 2021 have shown the presence of different variants of concern including the Delta (Indian), Beta (South African) and Alpha (UK) variants.
"The data has been shared with the Field Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Division of NIH for response activities such as quarantine and contact tracing, and with other relevant national stakeholders," said the statement.