More Covid-19 vaccines to be registered: official

Published January 18, 2021
A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a "Coronavirus Covid-19 Vaccine" sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration. — Reuters/File
A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a "Coronavirus Covid-19 Vaccine" sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: As Pakis­tan reported 2,521 new Covid-19 cases and 43 deaths on Sunday, the Ministry of National Health Services (MNHS) ann­ounced that more vaccines would be registered in the country in coming weeks.

According to the data released by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), out of the 43 deaths, 22 — or over 50 per cent — were reported in Punjab; six each died in Sindh, Khyber Pakhtun­khwa and Islamabad; and three died in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

MNHS spokes­­person Sajid Shah told Dawn that more vaccines would be registered in coming weeks in the country.

“The AstraZeneca has been registered in the country for emergency use and the vaccine will come through Covax, which has pledged to provide the vaccine that would cover 20 per cent of the country’s population.

Covax is an alliance set up by Global Alliance for Vacc­ines and Immunisation (GAVI), Coalition for Epi­demic Preparedness Innova­­tions (CEPI) and World Health Organisation in April last year. The alliance has pledged provision of free vaccine for 20pc of the population of different count­­ries, including Pakistan.

Mr Shah said the registration of the vaccine had opened a gateway for import of the vaccine through the private sector.

He said that the government had been trying its best to get vaccine at the earliest. “Once the frontline workers and people over the age of 65 are vaccinated, we will move to vaccinate those who are between 60 and 65 years of age,” he said.

An official of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan, however, said that a Karachi-based company, ‘Sindh Medical Store’, has registered the AstraZeneca’s vaccine.

“Though the vaccine has been registered by a private company, I don’t think that the vaccine will be available in the market in next few months. The fact is that the vaccine is not available across the globe and it will remain unavailable till the end of the second quarter of current year,” he said.

As the country-wide deaths caused by Covid-19 reached 10,951 since the outbreak of the pandemic, 4,409 people died in Punjab; 3,775 in Sindh; 1,779 in KP ; 456 in Islamabad; 190 in Balochistan; 241 in AJK; and 101 in Gilgit-Baltistan.

The data showed that 334 ventilators were in use across the country. In Bahawalpur, 55pc vents were in use, in Multan, 49pc, in Lahore, 35pc and in Islamabad 35pc. Oxygen beds-related data showed that in Peshawar, 45pc beds were occupied, followed by Karachi, 39pc; Multan, 38pc; and Rawalpindi, 26pc.

The NCOC further said that there were 34,701 active cases in the country and 473,639 people had recovered so far. There are 631 hospitals with Covid-19 related facilities and 2,876 patients were admitted to those hospitals in the country.

Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2021

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