Coronavirus vaccination campaign kicks off today
Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Omar has said that the campaign for vaccination against coronavirus is being launched today (Tuesday) in the presence of Prime Minister Imran Khan, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
آج وزیراعظم کی موجودگی میں کرونا ویکسین لگانے کی مہم کا آغاز ہو گا اور انشاءاللہ کل تمام صوبائی دارالحکومت میں قومی کرونا ویکسینیشن مہم شروع ہو جائے گی. سب سے پہلے ویکسین فرنٹ لائن ہیلتھ ورکرز کو لگائ جائے گی— Asad Umar (@Asad_Umar) February 2, 2021
He said the priority will be given to those who are fighting the Covid-19 on the frontline.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said that his government would provide anti-Coronavirus vaccine to everyone without any discrimination. "Rich and poor will not matter. We will try to cover as many people as possible," he said.
The government plans to administer the vaccine to the entire population during the current year, Radio Pakistan quoted Imran Khan as saying.
Khan also said that the frontline health workers would be vaccinated in the first phase followed by elderly people and those with medical conditions.
Speaking in Sukkur on Monday, Asad Umar said the federal government will start providing the Covid-19 vaccine to the people of Sindh in the current week but warned the PPP’s provincial government against politicizing the sensitive issue.
He said the Centre has procured the Covid-19 vaccine and has asked SAPM Dr Faisal Sultan to call a meeting of the health ministers to consult with them how to register the people for inoculation, distribution of the vaccine and training to the paramedics to administer that. He clarified that the vaccine would be made available to everyone across all the provinces without discrimination. However, he charged the Sindh chief minister with politically exploiting the NCOC decisions. Asad Umar also asked the provincial government not to politicise the vaccine issue.
Meanwhile, Pakistan on Monday received the first batch of 500,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine donated by its closest ally, China, as the country gears up to kickstart its immunisation drive later this week.
The vaccines were flown in from China on a special plane of the Pakistan Air Force. The consignment was formally handed over to Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi by Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong at Nur Khan Airbase in Rawalpindi.
“Alhamdulilah (by the grace of Allah) the first batch of Sinopharm vaccine has arrived! Grateful to China and everyone who made this happen. I salute our frontline healthcare workers for their efforts and they will be first to get vaccinated," tweeted Dr Faisal Sultan.
Pakistan will start its vaccination drive later this week, beginning with frontline health workers. So far, over 400,000 health professionals have applied for the jabs. Next, citizens over 65 years would be vaccinated; their registration will start in 10 to 15 days, said Asad Umar.
Apart from the free vaccine doses which arrived on Monday, Pakistan will buy another 1.1 million jabs from China, while international vaccine alliance Covax has promised 17 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in the first half of the year.
During the ceremony at Nur Khan Airbase, Qureshi said China had once again given practical demonstration of its friendship with Pakistan. "This year is even more significant as it marks 70 years since we established diplomatic ties. We have planned to celebrate [the milestone] and open new doors of cooperation and friendship," he said.
Chinese Ambassador Rong said Pakistan is the first country to receive the COVID-19 vaccines for free from the Chinese government. He said China sees Pakistan as its "closest friend" and "priority for cooperation".