US to send 2.5 million doses of Moderna Covid-19 vaccine to Pakistan

Published June 29, 2021
Boxes containing vials of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine are seen in this file photo. — AFP
Boxes containing vials of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine are seen in this file photo. — AFP

Pakistan is expected to receive 2.5 million doses of Moderna Covid-19 vaccine next week, the United States government announced in Washington on Monday.

While announcing the dispatch of vaccines to Pakistan, Peru and Honduras, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki referred to President Joe Biden's commitment to playing a leading role in ending the pandemic everywhere.

In addition to Pakistan, the US will also ship two million doses of Pfizer vaccine to Peru, and 1.5m doses of Moderna vaccine to Honduras.

"Over this week, we'll be able to announce more places that the United States will be sending our doses," Psaki added.

Earlier this month, Biden had announced that the US would dispatch seven million Covid-19 vaccines to South and Southeast Asia to help regional governments overcome the pandemic.

India, however, would get its share from another tranche of six million vaccines kept aside for the countries experiencing surges, the White House had said at the time.

Pakistan and Bangladesh would get their shares from the seven million marked for distribution in South and Southeast Asia.

The US would donate 75 per cent of its unused vaccines to the UN-backed Covax global vaccine sharing programme, Biden had announced.

UN report on registration of deaths

Meanwhile, a new United Nations report suggested that the Asia-Pacific region must accelerate progress towards registering deaths and causes of deaths to achieve universal civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems by 2024.

The report, 'Get Everyone in the Picture: A snapshot of progress midway through the Asian and Pacific CRVS Decade', released by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Escap) on Monday showed that while many countries have reported great success in reducing the number of children born without a birth certificate, too few deaths in the region are registered with a medically certified cause of death.

Since 2012, the number of unregistered children under five across Asia and the Pacific has been reduced by half, resulting in greater access to health, education and financial services. However, death registration is lagging far behind with only a third of all deaths in the region having a death certificate and medically certified cause of death. A key reason for this is a lack of training for doctors and coroners, the report noted.

The report underscored the urgent need for timely mortality statistics disaggregated by causes of death to develop and monitor public health policies and detect emerging health crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Today is another key milestone for the CRVS community in Asia and the Pacific," said UN Under-Secretary-General and Escap Executive Secretary, Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, at the launch event of the report. "The recent surge in Covid-19 in our region once again highlights the urgent need for universal civil registration of births, deaths and causes of death," she added. "These developments emphasise the importance of our work to improve CRVS systems in the region."

"The report shows that the Asia-Pacific region is on the right path to reach its goal of universal and responsive CRVS systems," said Kamni Naidu, Chair of the Regional Steering Group for CRVS in Asia and the Pacific. "CRVS systems are much better positioned to respond to the crisis than they would have been five years ago," she added.

"With continued efforts, we will be able to achieve our intended goal of ensuring a legal identity for all which will ensure that we realise and facilitate the goals of the 2030 sustainable development agenda."

The report outlined country progress towards establishing universal CRVS systems in line with commitments made during the first Ministerial Conference on CRVS in Asia and the Pacific in 2014.

The Ministerial Declaration to "Get every one in the picture" in Asia and the Pacific defines the shared vision that, by 2024, all people in the region will benefit from universal and responsive CRVS systems that facilitate the realisation of their rights and support good governance, health and development.

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