Wednesday August 17, 2022

First consignment of AstraZeneca arriving on 8th

May 06, 2021

KARACHI: The first consignment of around 1.238 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, codenamed AZD1222 through COVAX facility would be landing at the Islamabad International Airport on Saturday, May 08, 2021, federal government officials told The News. He said Pakistan is receiving the European vaccine from a non-Indian source.

“Around 12,38,000 (12 lac and thirty eight thousand) doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca’s AZD1222 COVID-19 vaccine (Covishield) are arriving on May 8 at the Islamabad Airport. It is the first shipment of Covid-19 vaccine being supplied through COVAX to Pakistan from a non-Indian source,” an official of the National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHS,R&C) told The News on Wednesday.

Pakistan was supposed to get the first tranche of AstraZeneca’s Covishield vaccine through COVAX in March but the vaccine supply was delayed after the Serum Institute of India (SII) diverted the supplies to meet its domestic needs, officials said. The NHS,R&C official added that Pakistan has now managed to get the vaccine from South Korea using influence with partner organisations”.

The federal ministry official maintained that another consignment of the vaccine has been committed in June alongside ‘a little over 0.1 million’ Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine doses, adding even Moderna’s vaccine could be supplied to Pakistan through COVAX.

Responding to a query if the syringes were also being delivered along with vaccine to Pakistan, the official maintained that GAVI supplies are always bundled having corresponding quantities of syringes. “Our timely acquisition of UCC (Ultra Cold Chain) freezers has put us ahead for Pfizer and Moderna through COVAX,” the official added.

The official maintained that COVAX vaccine supply situation is likely to improve significantly in the second half of 2021 as more vaccines are likely to be secured by the WHO and EUA, including Chinese vaccines. He maintained that COVAX has assured Pakistan of providing at least 100,000 doses of mRNA vaccine of Pfizer BioNtech by June this year.

“On their assurance, we have acquired and installed 23 Ultra Cold Chain (UCC) Refrigerators throughout Pakistan. This equipment has been procured with financial assistance from Asian Development Bank available with the UNICEF, Pakistan. They have been installed in the federal capital and all the federating units to store the mRNA vaccine from Pfizer BioNtech and in future other vaccines that require special storage arrangements,” the official added.