Pakistan gets first batch of Pfizer vaccine under COVAX

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday received more than 100,000 doses of Pfizer coronavirus vaccine under the World Health Organisation’s COVAX programme.

UNICEF’s Pakistan chapter in a tweet said, “Shipments of Pfizer diluents and syringes will be arriving over the next two days. The vaccines will be used for Pakistan’s ongoing Covid-19 vaccination campaign,” it added.

The UNICEF also commended the government and federal ministry of health for the successful rollout of the countrywide coronavirus vaccination campaign, “excellent arrangements at vaccination centres and inclusion of all above 18 years of age”.

The shipment of Pfizer is the second consignment of vaccines received by the country via COVAX. “Earlier, UNICEF had led the efforts to procure and deliver more than one million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to Pakistan on behalf of COVAX,” said the UN agency in a statement.

“Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective. If you are 18 or above, please send your CNIC (without space) to 1166 and get registered in the government’s vaccination campaign. No one is safe until everyone is safe,” read the statement.

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Friday decided to allow people aged 30 years and above to walk into any vaccination centre from Saturday (tomorrow) onwards to get inoculated against COVID-19.

“In the NCOC meeting today it was decided to open up walk-in vaccination for 30 plus from tomorrow,” Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar, who heads the NCOC, tweeted.

The Planning minister further wrote, “So if you are 30 or older and registered please go to any vaccination centre and get vaccinated.” Vaccination against Covid-19 of Pakistanis aged 30 years and above, who had registered themselves on the helpline 1166, started on May 22.

In another tweet, Asad Umar said more than 5 million people have been vaccinated against COVID-19 as of May 27. He also urged the citizens to sign up for vaccination and get inoculated as soon as possible so that the government could ease restrictions.

Vaccination in Pakistan

On May 16, Pakistan had started registering people who are 30 years and above for coronavirus vaccinations, while registration for people falling in the 40-49 age group began on May 3.

Pakistan has begun the vaccination drive in February and has inoculated more than 4.7 million people, with 211,986 jabs being administered in the last 24 hours.

A digital portal has been launched by the federal government for registrations through which a code is assigned to a person. The citizens can then go to a designated vaccination centre and get a jab. People can also message their CNIC number on 1166 and get themselves registered for the vaccine.

According to NCOC, AstraZeneca would be administered to people above 40-years, while people above 18-years will be inoculated with Sinopharm, Cansino, and Sinovac. The duration between the two doses is 12 weeks for AstraZeneca, 3 weeks for Sinopharm, and 4 weeks for Sinovac.

Vaccination for travellers over 18

On May 19, the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) opened a walk-in COVID-19 vaccination facility for people above 18-years-old — however, only under certain circumstances.

As per details, if people above 18 years fall under the categories mentioned below, they can simply walk into any coronavirus vaccination centre, show a valid visa, and get vaccinated. The categories are: Pakistanis working abroad on a work visa; Students studying abroad; Seafarers.

The notification stated that the vaccine aspirants will have to carry their valid passport, visa or iqama to the vaccination centre, adding that once the vaccine is administered, a certificate for it will be issued on NADRA’s website.