Karachi vaccine centre Khaliq Dina Hall and Library building Pakistan
A general view of the Khaliq Dina Hall and Library building, which has been converted to be used as a vaccination centre, for administering coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, in Karachi, Pakistan January 27, 2021. Image Credit: Reuters

Islamabad: Pakistan has announced that its COVID-19 vaccination drive will begin next week. Frontline healthcare workers are first in line for jabs at vaccination centres.

The system for vaccination is in place and “hundreds of vaccination centres in the country will be administering COVID-19 vaccine,” Asad Umar, who is spearheading Pakistan’s national drive to combat the coronavirus pandemic, said in a tweet. “God willing, the vaccination of frontline health workers will start next week,” he added.

Pakistan has announced to provide the vaccines free of charge to its citizens. Initially, it would be administered to healthcare workers and people over 65 years of age.

Pakistan’s COVID-19 vaccination strategy

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) – which is leading the government’s unified effort to contain the pandemic – has unveiled a comprehensive vaccination plan to in line with the best global health guidelines.

Several vaccination centres have been established across Pakistan and the staff training and other necessary arrangements have also been completed to kick-off the vaccination drive in the country of 220 million. A new digital platform called National Immunisation Management System (NIMS) has been established for the vaccination delivery at the national level.

Vaccination process

1. Registration - Citizens including frontline healthcare workers will send CNIC number to 1166 through SMS or use NIMS website for registration.

2. Verification - After required verification, citizens will be directed to the nearest Adult Vaccine Centres (AVC).

3. Confirmation - When vaccine becomes available, confirmation message and date of appointment will be sent via text message.

4. Visit - After successful registration, citizens will visit the centre on the date of appointment along with original CNIC and received pin code (mandatory).

5. Vaccination - Citizens will be administered the vaccine
after verifying CNIC and pin code.

6. Monitoring - Citizen will stay at the centre for 30 minutes for the post inoculation monitoring.

COVID-19 vaccines approved by Pakistan

Pakistan has so far approved three coronavirus vaccines — the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, the Chinese SinoPharm and Russian-developed Sputnik V. China has pledged a donation of 500,000 doses of Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine. The country is also expected to receive tens of millions of China’s CanSino under an agreement with Cansino Biologics Inc. after successful completion of Phase III trials in Pakistan and final approval.

Pakistan has also signed up for COVAX global alliance for vaccine immunisation, and expects to receive between around 50 million coronavirus vaccines, according to health officials.