KARACHI: Pakistan will receive another batch of over a million COVID-19 vaccine doses from China next week, the country’s top health official said on Sunday.
Dr. Faisal Sultan, the prime minister’s adviser on health, said in a tweet that the country has placed orders for the purchase of 1 million and 60, 000 doses of Sinopharm and CanSino vaccines from China respectively, which will be received within a few days.
Several million additional doses are in the pipeline and will be delivered in April, he added.
The development came amid reports that the country’s already sluggish vaccination campaign is likely to take a further hit, following the delay in the supply of 17 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine being provided by the WHO-led COVAX program for developing countries.
The promised vaccines were slated to be received by the end of March. But India’s Serum Institute, which is supplying the doses to the world health body, has diverted supplies to meet domestic requirements.
Pakistan is currently vaccinating frontline healthcare workers and senior citizens using Sinopharm doses donated by China.
– Cases rise
Pakistan on Sunday recorded 4, 767 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily spike since last July.
This increased the overall caseload to 654, 591, the Health Ministry said, adding that another 57 people died of the disease in the last 24 hours, taking the total to 14, 215.
As many as 595, 929 patients have recovered so far, with the number of active cases standing at 44, 447.
Over the last few days, the country has reported over 4, 000 daily cases, with 4, 468 infections on Saturday.
Infections have been surged in the South Asian country of over 200 million in recent days, with more than 72, 000 reported in March alone.
Earlier this week, the government said existing COVID-19 restrictions would continue for at least three more weeks.
They include “broader lockdowns” in high-risk areas, with no movement allowed, except for emergencies. Educational institutions have also been closed until at least April 11 in districts with high infection rates.