Islamabad: More than 200,000 people in Pakistan received a coronavirus vaccine on May 4 – the country’s highest one-day total since the shots began rolling out in February.
The vaccine shots being administered each day are gradually increasing and the health officials are making efforts to reach the target of 300,000 vaccinations daily. In the capital city of Islamabad, nearly 77 per cent of all registered citizens have been vaccinated so far, according to the district health office.
Push to vaccinate 70 million
Pakistan government aims to vaccinate 70 million by the end of 2021, says Dr. Faisal Sultan, the adviser to the prime minister on health affairs. Experts say that roughly 100 million adults are eligible to receive the vaccine in the country of 220 million. The total number of people who have registered at the government vaccination portal is 50 million. The country is yet to begin a targeted awareness campaign to deal with vaccine hesitancy.
Pakistan is currently vaccinating citizens aged 40 and above with China’s Sinopharm and CanSino jabs, available free of cost at government health facilities. Pakistan also allowed selected hospitals in major cities to privately administer Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine imported by a local pharmaceutical company to battle the third wave of the virus.
More than 2.7 million people have been vaccinated in Pakistan. The country’s immunisation rate has been described as the lowest in South Asia.
Pakistan prepares for local vaccine production
Pakistan on Wednesday received 120,000 doses of China’s CanSino vaccine which will be processed into the finished vaccine and packaged in vials at the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Islamabad.
Pakistan officials had earlier announced that the country will import single-shot CanSino COVID-19 vaccine in bulk to package three million doses locally. Dr Sultan said that the vaccine technology transfer agreement with China will significantly reduce the country’s dependence on other countries.
Pakistan to procure 30 million doses
The Pakistan government has signed agreements with three vaccine producers to purchase a total of 30 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, Dr Sultan said at a recent news briefing. The country has so far received around 5 million vaccine doses. Pakistan expects to receive another 13.2 million doses of coronavirus vaccine by the end of June to help ramp up vaccine rollout.
The country reported 4,113 new infections and 119 deaths in the last 24 hours. A total of 841,636 confirmed cases with 18,429 deaths and 738,727 recoveries have been reported in Pakistan as of May 5, according to the National Command and Operation Centre.