Pkistan to receive 2.8 mln AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine doses on March 2: Dr Faisal

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Dr Faisal Sultan on Thursday said the government was expected to receive 2.8 million doses of AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine on March 2 and around 6 to 6.8 million doses later in the month.

“We have secured 17 million doses of AstraZeneca-Oxford and the government can now begin vaccinating above 65-year old people, ” Dr Faisal said in a media briefing.

He said AstraZeneca-Oxford was approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization and the second most widely used vaccine in the world, being used in 34 out of 65 countries that had begun vaccinating, including developed countries such as the United Kingdom.

He said so far 52, 768 healthcare workers had been vaccinated against COVID-19 across the country, showing their immense trust in the vaccine as role models.

He said the government would soon announce the opening of registration for people above the age of 60 while presently registration for vaccine was permitted to only frontline healthcare workers and the people above the age of 65.

He said Pakistan was one of only 65 countries that had started vaccinating as 130 others, including developed countries like Australia had not been able to administer even a single dose.

He said the government had launched the vaccination drive across Pakistan on February 3. Procuring the vaccine and launching the drive was not an easy task.

“We began by vaccinating only frontline healthcare workers. We have been asked why only frontline healthcare workers were made eligible in the first phase so it’s important to remember they risk their and their families’ lives every single day and they don’t have the opportunity to practice social distance and thousands of them contracted the virus.”

He said 132 frontline healthcare workers had lost their lives in the line of duty. “I salute your courage and determination and I encourage you to get vaccinated to protect yourself and your loved ones from this disease.”

Dr Faisal said, “We’re also proud of the robust systems developed by Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) and National Immunization Management System (NIMS). We’ll continue to make the process even more smooth for citizens.”

He announced that in order to speed up the process even more and make it even easier for frontline healthcare workers to get vaccinated, frontline healthcare workers under 60 already registered in central RMS as per the criteria, could now simply message their CNIC number to 1166 and visit the nearest Adult Vaccination Center as per their convenience.

Earlier, he said, they were supposed to message their CNIC number to 1166 and wait to be assigned a date and Adult Vaccination Center. He added that the list and addresses of Adult Vaccination Centers were available at ncoc.gov.pk

He said the government would announce the website before 22nd of February and healthcare workers could visit it to register themselves. He added after 72 hours or three days, they would be able to visit any Adult Vaccination Center and get vaccinated by all healthcare workers including doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists and other categories like paramedics and support staff.

He said Sinopharm was one of the most trusted and widely used vaccines, however, the trial data did not include enough information about people above the age of 60 so the government could not be confident about its related trails.