Copy of 751453-01-02-1632825255356
Students attend a class at a school in Lahore on September 16, 2021, after the government reopened educational institutes. Image Credit: AFP

Islamabad: Pakistan would begin COVID-19 vaccination for children aged 12 and above, the health officials announced on Tuesday.

Asad Umar, Pakistan’s planning minister and chief of the top body overseeing the pandemic response, said the government will begin a drive to vaccinate children aged 12 or above to protect them from coronavirus.

He also announced a special drive under which health teams will be visiting schools to make it easier for children to get vaccinated, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has decided.

In early September, the NCOC decided to administer coronavirus jabs to the 15 to 17 years age group. Pfizer jabs are being administered to teenagers in Pakistan as Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is considered safe and highly effective in young children.

The announcement came amid a steady decline in coronavirus cases across the country. It is the first time since July that Pakistan reported 1,400 coronavirus cases over the last 24 hours. The country reported 41 deaths from coronavirus during the past day.

At least 961,340 COVID-19 doses were administered on September 27, according to NCOC data. Pakistan has administered a total of 79.5 million doses as of September 28. At least 27.3 million people are fully vaccinated while 57.8 million have received one dose of the vaccine.

NCOC has encouraged unvaccinated Pakistani citizens to get the shots in time before the October 1 deadline after which they might face travel and work-related restrictions.