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In pictures: Pakistan launches Covid-19 vaccination drive, days after receiving doses from China

The government has said it plans to vaccinate 70 per cent of the country's high-risk population by the end of the year.
Published 03 Feb, 2021 09:36pm

Pakistan on Wednesday started vaccinating frontline health workers against the coronavirus amid a steady decline in confirmed cases and fatalities.

The start of the vaccine campaign comes days after Pakistan received half a million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine donated by China.

At a ceremony in Islamabad, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar paid tribute to the health workers, saying they were real heroes as they put their lives at risk in the fight against Covid-19.

Chief guest, Commercial Minister Counsellor China Xie Guoxiang (L) gives a souvenir to a health worker after she received a dose of the Chinese-made Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine, as the head of National Command and Operation Centre Asad Umar (C) looks on, in Islamabad on Wednesday. — AFP
Chief guest, Commercial Minister Counsellor China Xie Guoxiang (L) gives a souvenir to a health worker after she received a dose of the Chinese-made Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine, as the head of National Command and Operation Centre Asad Umar (C) looks on, in Islamabad on Wednesday. — AFP

A health worker administers the Chinese Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine to his colleague while Prime Minister's advisor on health Dr Faisal Sultan, second right, and other officials watch during a ceremony to start the vaccination campaign in Islamabad. — AP
A health worker administers the Chinese Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine to his colleague while Prime Minister's advisor on health Dr Faisal Sultan, second right, and other officials watch during a ceremony to start the vaccination campaign in Islamabad. — AP

The government has said it plans to vaccinate 70 per cent of the country's high-risk population by the end of the year.

Parliamentary Secretary for National Health Services (NHS) Dr Nausheen Hamid said the first phase would prioritise health workers.

“I can't say with certainty, but we would still need around two months to start a mass vaccination campaign,” she added.

Medical attendants prepare to vaccinate health workers with Chinese-made Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Karachi. — AFP
Medical attendants prepare to vaccinate health workers with Chinese-made Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Karachi. — AFP

A health worker collects data from a doctor, right, prior to administering a Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination centre in Karachi. — AP
A health worker collects data from a doctor, right, prior to administering a Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination centre in Karachi. — AP

Pulmonologist and Covid-19 expert Shazli Manzoor told AFP that the Chinese vaccine suited impoverished Pakistan because it could be stored at between two and eight degrees Celsius, compared to -70°C for other vaccines.

He said the government would set up special clinics to monitor how the population was responding to the vaccinations.

A health worker receives a dose of the Chinese-made Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine, at the National Command and Operation Centre in Islamabad. — AFP
A health worker receives a dose of the Chinese-made Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine, at the National Command and Operation Centre in Islamabad. — AFP

A paramedic prepares a dose of the Sinopharm's coronavirus vaccine, donated by China, before administering it to a health worker at a vaccination centre in Karachi. — Reuters
A paramedic prepares a dose of the Sinopharm's coronavirus vaccine, donated by China, before administering it to a health worker at a vaccination centre in Karachi. — Reuters

Health workers stand in a queue for their registration before receiving a dose of the Chinese-made Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine, at a vaccination centre in Karachi. — AFP
Health workers stand in a queue for their registration before receiving a dose of the Chinese-made Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine, at a vaccination centre in Karachi. — AFP

Some doctors have questioned how effective the vaccine will be.

“It lacks transparency and data compared to other vaccines,” one Pakistani health expert told AFP.

A health worker shows a vial of the Chinese Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine during a ceremony to start the vaccination campaign, in Islamabad. — AP
A health worker shows a vial of the Chinese Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine during a ceremony to start the vaccination campaign, in Islamabad. — AP

A health worker (L) gestures while receiving a dose of the Chinese-made Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine, at a vaccination centre in Karachi. — AFP
A health worker (L) gestures while receiving a dose of the Chinese-made Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine, at a vaccination centre in Karachi. — AFP

Up to 17 million doses of the British-Swedish produced AstraZeneca vaccine have been promised to Pakistan in the first half of 2021 under the Covax global pool, the government has said.

A doctor in Islamabad was the first health worker to receive the jab in a symbolic ceremony in front of Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday night.


Header: Medical attendants prepare to vaccinate health workers with Chinese-made Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Karachi on Wednesday. — AFP