Islamabad: Pakistan has secured 17 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine against the novel coronavirus, out of which 35-40 per cent or 6 to 6.8 million doses will be available within the first quarter of the current year, the media reported on Sunday.
The AstraZeneca vaccines are in addition to the 500,000 doses of the Sinopharm jab from China that Pakistan has already procured, The Express Tribune reported.
“Happy to share that in addition to the 500,000 doses of Sinopharm, almost 7 million does (doses) of AstraZeneca to be made available in Q1 and given to the public free of cost,” Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan said in a tweet on Saturday night.
He added that the country’s vaccination drive will start from next week, beginning with frontline healthcare workers.
Regarding Saturday’s development, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, who heads the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) also said in a tweet: “Good news on Covid vaccine front. Received letter from Covax of indicative supply of up to 17 million doses of AstraZeneca in 1st half 2021.
“About 6 million will be received by March with delivery starting in February. We signed with Covax nearly eight months back to ensure availability.”
On January 28, the federal government gave the green light for three Covid-19 vaccines — Russia’s Sputnik-V, China’s Sinopharm and UK’s Oxford-AstraZeneca — for emergency use in the country.
Pakistan has so far reported 544,813 coronavirus cases and 11,657 deaths.