Parliamentary Secretary for National Health Services Dr Nausheen Hamid said the government would endeavor to cover big chunk of population with free-of-cost coronavirus vaccine till end of 2021 and ordered additional doses of coronavirus vaccine. Talking to media, she said Pakistan has approved China’s CanSino Biologics Inc’s (CanSinoBIO) COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use which is useful and effective, adding, government was also finalizing further deals to buy vaccines developed by China-based pharmaceutical companies Sinovac and CanSino Biologics.
‘We have set a target to achieve herd immunity by vaccinating 70 million people by the end of the current year, however, we are hopeful of achieving the target by November,’ she added. She said that the government had been trying its best to get more vaccine, adding, once the frontline workers and people over the age of 65 were vaccinated, they would move to vaccinate those who were between 60 to 65 years of age.
Pakistan has also received a letter from the COVAX platform indicating the supply of up to 17 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine during the first half of 2021, she said adding, around six million doses would be received by March with delivery starting as early as possible. Nausheen Hamid made it clear that COVID-19 vaccine would be administered free of cost at public health facilities.
“The vaccines will be administered in a phased process, with 0.5 million health care workers in the first phase of its campaign while other 9.5 million above 60 to get vaccination doses in second phase of vaccination drive”, she added. She said the vaccine was currently given to our first line defenders because they were more vulnerable to infection than others, and to the elderly and people with chronic diseases.