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Pakistan launches COVID-19 vaccination drive for people over 60

AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine has not arrived yet

SAMAA | - Posted: Mar 10, 2021 | Last Updated: 5 months ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Mar 10, 2021 | Last Updated: 5 months ago

A health worker receives a dose of the Sinopharm vaccine at Shah Bhitai hospital. Photo: Online

Pakistan launched on Wednesday the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive which aims to inoculate people over 60 years. 

“The senior-most citizens will be the first ones to receive the doses of COVID-19 vaccine,” announced Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan. 

Those who have already registered will receive a message with further instructions about their vaccine centre and date on their mobile numbers, according to an official of the Ministry of National Health.

People over 60 will also receive the Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccine being given to health workers. Sajid Shah, the spokesperson of the national health ministry, confirmed this to SAMAA Digital. He remarked that the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine “could arrive any time.”

“The vaccinations will be done in reverse order by age, which means the oldest person who has registered will be vaccinated first,” said Planning Minister Asad Umar.

People over 60 years and all health workers can register for the vaccine by sending their CNIC numbers to 1166 or on https://nims.nadra.gov.pk/nims/.

Related: How to get the coronavirus vaccine in Pakistan

The vaccination drive for health workers started on February 3 and is ongoing. Authorities say that at least 25% of the 400,000 registered health workers registered have been vaccinated.

Earlier the government had said the Sinopharm vaccine was not suitable for people over 60 years. On March 5, however, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan approved the shot for that demographic.

Around 2.8 million doses of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca-Oxford were supposed to arrive in Pakistan through COVAX in the first week of March. The consignment got delayed but the reason behind it is not known.

A health ministry official has also said that the country was in touch with other countries to get 73 million doses of the vaccine, which would likely arrive in the last quarter of 2021.

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