Pakistan to start COVID-19 vaccination drive next week, minister says

By Asif Shahzad and Syed Raza Hassan ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan will launch its COVID-19 vaccination drive next week, starting with front-line health workers, a government minister said on Wednesday. 'God willing, the vaccination of front-line health workers will start next week,' Asad Umar, who oversees Pakistan's efforts to stem the coronavirus pandemic, said in a tweet. China has pledged to donate 500,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine made by the Chinese firm SinoPharm

Reuters January 28, 2021 00:10:35 IST
Pakistan to start COVID-19 vaccination drive next week, minister says

Pakistan to start COVID19 vaccination drive next week minister says

By Asif Shahzad and Syed Raza Hassan

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan will launch its COVID-19 vaccination drive next week, starting with front-line health workers, a government minister said on Wednesday.

"God willing, the vaccination of front-line health workers will start next week," Asad Umar, who oversees Pakistan's efforts to stem the coronavirus pandemic, said in a tweet.

China has pledged to donate 500,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine made by the Chinese firm SinoPharm.

Two government sources said the first batch would be flown in on Saturday.

Pakistan has so far approved two vaccines for emergency use, one made by China National Pharmaceutical Group (SinoPharm) and the other by AstraZeneca.

Russia's Sputnik V vaccine is also likely to get similar approval, officials say, adding that the authorisations will be reviewed quarterly with regard to safety, efficacy and quality.

Health Minister Faisal Sultan has said Pakistan could get "in the range of tens of millions" of vaccine doses under an agreement with China's Cansino Biologics Inc.

Cansino's Ad5-nCoV vaccine candidate is nearing completion of Phase III clinical trials in Pakistan, and preliminary results may be available by mid-February, Sultan said.

The South Asian nation of 220 million people also expects China to donate a further million vaccine doses.

Dr Ghazna Khalid, a member of the government task force on COVID-19, said Pakistan would procure vaccines from various markets.

"There's going to be an accumulation of vaccines, a consortium available, there’s going to be Chinese vaccines, there's going to be AstraZeneca," she said.

"We are the fifth biggest country in the world, and it's going to be very difficult to immunise."

Pakistan reported 1,563 new coronavirus infections and 74 deaths in the latest 24-hour period, taking the total number of cases to more than 537,477, with 11,450 deaths.

(Reporting by Asif Shahzad and Umar Farooq in Islamabad and Raza Hasan in Karachi; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.