KARACHI/ ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is facing an extreme shortage of Covid-19 vaccines, compelling the Sindh province to suspend the vaccination process from today (Sunday) throughout the province, while Punjab closed down many vaccination centers as supply from the Center was halted in the last week. However, officials say that an agreement has been reached between Pakistan and the Pfizer-BioNTech for the procurement of 13 million doses of Covid-19 mRNA vaccine for the country and first shipment of one doses is expected to reach Pakistan by the end of July 2021, said on Saturday.
Similarly, Pakistan is in the final stages of procurement of 10 million doses of Russian Sputnik V vaccine, whose first shipment is likely to reach Pakistan by the end of current month or first week of July, they added.
“The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) of Pakistan has managed to reach an agreement with Pfizer Inc and BioNTech for the procurement of 13 million doses of their messenger RNA Covid-19 vaccine for Pakistan. The first shipment is expected to be delivered in July this to the country”, an official of the National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHS,R&C) told The News on Saturday.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan also said the pressure on the country's coronavirus vaccine stock would ease beginning next week. Dr Sultan, in a tweet, said 12.9 million cumulative vaccine doses have so far been administered in the country (including both partial and fully vaccinated people), with 226,000 inoculations on June 18, 266,000 on June 17, and 416,000 on June 16.
The premier's aide on health said Pakistan currently has a stock of more than a million vaccine doses, while the government anticipates nearly eight million vaccine doses to arrive in the country by the month's end, reported Geo News.
As many as 1.55 million doses would arrive today (June 20), 2.5 million jabs on June 22, while from June 23-30, 2-3 million doses along with a raw material to produce 400,000 PakVac vaccines would reach Pakistan, he said.
Officials of Pfizer Inc. also confirmed that an agreement had reached between Pakistan for the supply of 13 million doses of their mRNA vaccine with first shipment reaching Pakistan next week and added that remaining 12 million doses would be delivered by December 2021.
The Registration Board of Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) have already granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to the Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 mRNA vaccine in Pakistan for vaccination of individuals of 12 years and above and millions of people are awaiting its availability in the country to get themselves inoculated.
But officials in the federal government claimed that through NDMA Pakistan has managed to procure 70 million doses in the current year which include Chinese, American and Russian vaccines while country would also get over 12 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine by the start of August 2021.
“NDMA is aiming to procure 10 million doses of Russian Sputnik V vaccine between July and September this year while millions of doses of Chinese Sinopharm, Sinovac and Cansino are also being procured. The would be no dearth of different vaccines in Pakistan in the weeks ahead”, an official, who requested anonymity told The News.
The official said Pakistan was going to acquire 10 million doses of Russian Sputnik V, around 30 million doses of Sinovac vaccine as well as 20 million doses each of Sinopharm and Cansino vaccines by December this year.
The official maintained that a flight is reaching Pakistan with 1.5 million doses of Sinovac from China today (Sunday) noon and added that by the end of current month, most of the Covid Vaccination Centers (CVCs) would resume the vaccination process throughout the country.
Earlier in the day, the Sindh government, keeping in view the available stock of the vaccine doses, decided to keep all vaccination centres closed today (Sunday).
This was decided in a meeting of the Provincial Task Force on Corona, chaired by Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, with provincial ministers in attendance.
According to a statement released by the Sindh government, the committee was briefed on the pandemic situation and the shortage of vaccines across the country, which has gotten serious in the last few days.
The meeting was told that so far 3,243,988 doses of vaccines have been received. Of them, 2,873,857 were utilised and only 370,141 were left.
In Lahore, the coronavirus vaccination stock has completely dried up at the Expo Centre, a day after sources at the Punjab health department had informed Geo News that only four facilities were administering vaccines out of 23 centres.
On Saturday, the doors of Hall No. 3 of the Expo Centre were closed to the public after stocks depleted. After an announcement was made that the centre is out of vaccines, citizens started to wait in front of Hall No 3, at which the rescue personnel requested them to turn back.
Those aspiring to travel abroad have been asked to visit the facility after a week.
Meanwhile, the national tally on Saturday of total active Covid-19 cases was recorded 35,491 with 997 more people tested positive for the deadly virus and 1,282 people recovered from the disease during the 24 hours.
As many as 27 corona patients died during 24 hours, 26 of whom were under treatment in the hospitals and one out of the hospitals had perished in their respective quarantines or homes, according to the latest update issued by the National command and Operation Centre (NCOC).
During the 24 hours period, most of the deaths have occurred in the Punjab followed by Sindh. Out of the total 27 deaths 12 of them died who were under treatment on ventilators.
There were 2,296 Covid infected patients under treatment in critical care among four of them admitted in various Covid dedicated healthcare facilities in past 24 hours.
The national Covid positivity ratio during past 24 hours was recorded 2.14 percent.
Some 46,269 tests were conducted across the country on Friday, including 13,970 in Sindh, 17,089 in Punjab, 10,342 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 3,103 in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), 971 in Balochistan, 302 in GB, and 492 in AJK.
Around 889,787 people have recovered from the disease so far across Pakistan making it a significant count with over 90 percent recovery ratio of the affected patients.
Since the pandemic outbreak, a total of 947,218 cases were detected that also included the perished, recovered and under treatment Covid-19 patients so far, including AJK 19,893, Balochistan 26,529, GB 5,771, ICT 82,313, KP 136,819, Punjab 344,799 and Sindh 331,094. About 21,940 deaths were recorded in country since the eruption of the contagion.
A total of 14,072,605 corona tests have been conducted so far, while 639 hospitals are equipped with Covid facilities.
Some 2,560 corona patients were admitted in hospitals across the country.
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