Pakistan secures 17m doses of AstraZeneca vaccine Steps to store Covid-19 vaccine finalised

Staff Reporter

Pakistan has secured 17 million doses of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine under a global scheme to deliver coronavirus treatments to developing nations, a government health official said on Saturday.

About six million of the doses will arrive in the first quarter of 2021 under the Covax scheme, with the remainder due by mid-year.
Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar said that Pakistan had received a letter from the World Health Organisation’s Covax platform, indicating of a supply of up to 17 million doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine during the first half of 2021.
Sharing the “good news” on Twitter, the minister said that around six million doses will be received by March with delivery starting as early as February.
“We signed with Covax nearly eight months back to ensure availability,” he wrote.
Covax is an alliance set up by Global Alliance for Vacc­ines and Immunisation, Coalition for Epi­demic Preparedness Innovations and the World Health Organisation in April last year. The alliance has pledged provision of free vaccine for 20pc of the population of different countries, including Pakistan. Pakistan has so far approved three coronavirus vaccines — the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, the vaccine developed by Chinese state-owned firm China National Pharmaceutical Group (SinoPharm) and Russian-developed Sputnik V.
Earlier in the day, the National Command and Operation Centre was informed during its daily meeting that a special plane will fly to China today (Sunday) to bring back the first batch of the 500,000 vaccine doses that Beijing had promised to provide.
“All necessary measures have been put in place for vaccine storage at Islamabad and [for transporting it] to various federating units particularly to Sindh and Balochistan through air,” a statement released after the meeting read.

It added that a central control cell has been established at the NCOC while dedicated cells have also been set up at provincial and district levels for the vaccination drive.
The forum also “deliberated in length about the vaccine administration strategy across Pakistan, administrative measures and particularly the movement of the initial tranche,” the statement added.

During the session, the forum deliberated about vaccine administration strategy and measures across Pakistan and particularly the movement of the initial tranche of vaccine for which a special plane would fly to China for transportation. Furthermore, the vaccine would be moved to various federating units of Sindh and Balochistan through the air.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has recorded 65 more coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours, surging the overall death toll to 11,623, said the National Command and Operation Centre. The education department has confirmed 32 Covid-19 positive cases in staff members of the APWA Government Girls College on Saturday. The infected staffers of the college have been sent to quarantine, according to a statement of the Sindh education department.

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