Covid claims another life as infections crash in Pakistan

NIH data shows positivity ratio also crashing: Gavi to integrate Covid jabs into core vaccine programmes for poor nations

By: News Desk
Published: 10:52 AM, 9 Dec, 2022
Pakistan coronavirus
Caption: Representational image.
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The number of everyday Covid-19 infections has crashed as Pakistan reported another coronavirus death during the last 24 hours (Thursday), showed the statistics released by the National Institute of Health (NIH) on Friday morning, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

According to the NIH data, the death toll in the country now inched up to 30,635 whereas the number of total infections now rose to 1,575,406 after adding the fresh 18 cases, the lowest in many many months.

During the last 24 hours (Thursday), 6,442 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio plunged to 0.28 percent. The number of patients in critical care was 25.

During the last 24 hours (Thursday), as many as 16 patients have recovered from the virus whereas the total recoveries now stood at 1,544,103. As of Friday, the total count of active cases in the country was recorded at just 686.

As many as 595,358 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Sindh, 523,197 in Punjab, 224,786 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 139,635 in Islamabad, 36,027 in Balochistan, 44,336 in Azad Kashmir and 12,085 in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Moreover, 13,617 individuals have lost their lives to the pandemic in Punjab so far, 8,251 in Sindh, 6,374 in KP, 1,031 in Islamabad, 793 in Azad Kashmir, 378 in Balochistan and 191 in Gilgit Baltistan.


Gavi to integrate Covid jabs into core vaccine programmes for poor nations

Covax, the global programme for distributing Covid jabs to poorer countries, will soon be integrated into more routine vaccination programmes, Gavi said Thursday.

Gavi said its board agreed during a two-day meeting in Geneva this week to phase out Covax after 2023, stressing though that the Covid jabs would still be made available to less well-off countries, alongside other vaccines.

"While Covax continues to have in place plans for worst-case scenarios, the board agreed, in principle, to explore integrating future Covid-19 vaccinations into Gavi's core programming," it said in a statement.

The aim, it said, is "to improve synergies, be more responsive to countries' needs", and to reduce the current burden on countries of having a specialised emergency response in place.

The Gavi vaccine alliance is a non-profit organisation created in 2000 to provide an array of vaccines to developing countries.

It has taken the lead on the Covax initiative, alongside the World Health Organization and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

The global scheme has so far shipped more than 1.86 billion Covid vaccines to 146 territories, with the focus on providing donor-funded jabs to the 92 weakest economies.

"The support is continuing in 2023," Gavi's head of resource mobilisation Marie-Ange Saraka-Yao told AFP.

"Then of course, depending on how the pandemic evolves, the plan will be to really bring it into the more regular programme," she said, adding that this was what countries were asking for.

"It doesn't disappear, but it is really integrated."

- Acute pandemic phase 'fading' -

This would allow people to combine getting a Covid jab with receiving other vaccines, helping to counter the "backsliding" in routine vaccination since the start of the pandemic.

It could also drive up demand for Covid jabs, Saraka-Yao said.

"We think that's actually the best way to improve and to accelerate the demand," she said.

Covax was launched in June 2020, when few could have imagined that several highly effective vaccines would emerge within nine months.

The programme was created to help counter the stark disparity in access to the jabs that arose as wealthy countries scrambled to secure large stashes of various vaccines being developed.

While massive efforts have been made through the programme, a yawning gap remains in vaccination rates between the richest and poorest countries.

Three-quarters of people in high-income countries have received at least one Covid vaccine dose, but fewer than a third of people in low-income countries have, according to a UN dashboard.

Nine countries still have Covid vaccine coverage below 10 percent.

Despite the remaining coverage gaps, the decision to begin phasing out Covax was not completely unexpected.

"It is acknowledging that the acute phase (of the pandemic) seems to be fading," Saraka-Yao said, stressing that the focus was on "flexibility", and that there was enough "capacity to continue fully in 2024".

With inputs from AFP.

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