Staff Reporter Islamabad
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday evening witnessed the start of Pakistan’s Coronavirus vaccination campaign, with the first injection administered to a doctor in Islamabad.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark the launch of the drive, the premier congratulated his government’s health team for moving rapidly to secure the vaccines and thanked China for donating 500,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine to Pakistan.
He reiterated that the vaccine will be first administered to health workers working with Covid-19 patients, followed by the elderly in the high-risk age group. “This (vaccine) is being distributed equitably among all the provinces so no one thinks we’ve provided more of it to one province,” he said.
Imran urged all healthcare workers to get the vaccine, saying they were most at risk. He also appealed to the public to follow the Covid-19 standard operating procedures and wear a mask.
“If Allah has blessed Pakistan as compared to the rest of the world, we should be grateful for that and take full precautions,” he emphasised. “If there is anything that slows the spread of the virus, it is a mask.”
He said the government had reopened schools and would do the same for hospitals, and that Pakistan’s Covid-19 cases were “falling”. But he stressed that it was important for people to follow the SOPs in order to save lives. “If you take precautions, we will open the other sectors as well.”
Before the premier’s speech, a doctor was given the country’s first Covid-19 vaccine shot as Imran and his special assistant on health Dr Faisal Sultan stood watching.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has reported 63 deaths in the last 24 hours by novel coronavirus as the number of positive cases has surged to 547,648. The nationwide tally of fatalities has jumped to 11,746 on Tuesday.
According to the latest figures by the National Command and Operation Center 1,220 persons tested positive for Covid-19 in the past 24 hours.
Till now 247,727 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Sindh, 158,220 in Punjab 67,419 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 41,493 in Islamabad, 18,830 in Balochistan, 9,050 in Azad Kashmir and 4,909 in Gilgit-Baltistan.
Meanwhile, over 0.5mn frontline health workers have registered themselves for the first phase of the Covid-19 vaccination that is due to kick-off today.
The drive will begin today at 11 in the morning at the National Command and Operation Centre. The frontline health workers of 15 sensitive cities of the country will receive coronavirus jabs.