Pakistan Receives 500,000 COVID-19 Vaccine Doses From China

Health Minister Faisal Sultan announced the news on Twitter saying, “the first batch of Sinopharm vaccine has arrived! Grateful to China and everyone who made this happen.”
The minister received the vaccine consignment at the Nur Khan Airbase in the garrison city of Rawalpindi where it arrived on board a Pakistan Air Force cargo plane.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had on Jan. 21 announced a gift of 500,000 doses of the vaccine produced by the state-owned China National Pharmaceutical Group Corp., known as Sinopharm.
The government plans to vaccinate the health workers in the first stage. About 400,000 such workers have registered for vaccination.Pakistan also plans to additionally procure another 1.1 million doses of the vaccine from China this month.
“A comprehensive countrywide vaccine administration has been formulated. All necessary measures have been put in place for vaccine storage at Islamabad and its transportation to the provinces by road and by air,” said a spokesman for National Command and Operation Center, which oversees the anti-COVID-19 measures.
COVAX, the global pooled procurement mechanism for coronavirus vaccines, has meanwhile indicated that it would provide 17 million doses of the vaccine jointly developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca Plc. The first batch of 7 million doses is likely to reach Pakistan this month.
The Health Ministry, in a statement, said that with the availability of vaccine from multiple sources, it is confident to meet the plan for “large scale immunization” over the next few months.
Pakistan’s drug regulator has so far approved AstraZeneca, Sinopharm and Russia’s Sputnik V vaccines for emergency use in the country.