Opposition slams govt over Covid vaccines shortage

Published June 20, 2021
People wait their turn to receive the second shot of the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Peshawar.— AP/File
People wait their turn to receive the second shot of the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Peshawar.— AP/File

• 40pc drop in vaccination recorded
• PM aide says 1m doses available, supply gap to reduce further by 22nd

ISLAMABAD: Amid rising complaints about shortage of Covid-19 vaccines across the country, opposition PML-N has criticised the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf for delay in procurement of vaccine while the government claims that one million doses are available and more are due over the next few days.

Major vaccination centres in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Rawalpindi have either suspended vaccination or slowed down the process due to which the number of vaccinations, which was around 400,000 a day at the start of current month, has been reduced by around 40 per cent.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan shared a timeline for the vaccine supplies next week and claimed that the pressure in the system including local or distribution issues would be eased by Monday or Tuesday. Besides, he said, one million doses were available in Pakistan.

PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb condemned the government over unavailability of Covid-19 vaccine and said it was criminal negligence on part of Prime Minister Imran Khan that the vaccine had not been procured on time.

“Today people of Pakistan have been suffering because of the incompetence of the premier. Corona package worth of Rs1,200 billion has also gone in the pockets of ‘Imran mafia’ and now we have been hearing similar issues regarding vaccine,” she alleged.

Later, Dr Sultan told the media that one million doses of Covid-19 vaccine were available across the country. He said 1.55 million doses would arrive on June 20, 2.5m on June 22 and two to three million doses would arrive between June 23 and 30. He also made it clear that 400,000 doses of single-dose Pakvac (Cansino) would also be available by the end of this month.

By Monday or Tuesday, he said, any pressure in the system and local and distribution issues would be eased.

Dr Sultan said overall 12.9 million doses had been administered so far. Of them, he said, 226,000 doses were administered each on June 17 and 18, while 416,000 doses were administered on June 16. According to the latest NCOC data, 27 deaths and 991 cases were reported in a single day.

Meanwhile, the US government delivered a shipment of emergency medical supplies to Pakistan on Saturday. Delivered through the USAID, the consignment included over one million pieces of personal protective equipment.

Amin Ahmed in Rawalpindi also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, June 20th, 2021

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