Staff Reporter Islamabad
Pakistan promises to vaccinate more than 100,000 people against Covid-19 every day from now on, says Fawad Chaudhry, the federal minister for science and technology.
A nationwide immunization drive to inoculate frontline health workers started on Wednesday. The Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccine is being used in the first phase as the country awaits supplies of other vaccines.
In a message on Twitter, the minister said the country’s immunization capacity will increase soon and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will also be available in a few weeks.
Meanwhile, there was a significant decline in the number of coronavirus deaths in Pakistan during the last 24 hours (Wednesday) as 31 people lost their lives whereas 1,508 fresh cases were reported from throughout the country, showed the figures released by the National Command and Operation Centre Thursday morning.
As per the latest NCOC statistics, the death toll has surged to 11,833 with the addition of 31 new cases while the number of confirmed cases stood at 550,540 with the addition of 1,508 new infections.
So far, 248,919 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Sindh, 159,311 in Punjab, 67,803 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 41,655 in Islamabad, 18,840 in Balochistan, 9,100 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and 4,912 in Gilgit Baltistan.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine for Covid-19, which started being administered in Pakistan this week, is not recommended for people older than 60 years, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr. Faisal Sultan said on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters in Islamabad, he said the government’s expert committee while considering the preliminary analysis of Sinopharm data had recommended that the vaccine be licensed for people aged 18-60 “at this stage”.
“At this stage, the [committee] did not authorize the vaccine for people older than 60,” he added. Dr. Sultan said this was not an “unusual” scenario.
“When new medicines come, such things happen and the basis is whether that [age group of the] population or people with certain conditions were included in the research for it. When we get more data, perhaps it will be used for people above 60 as well.”