Pakistan to receive 13mln doses of Pfizer vaccine - minister

Country faced initial vaccination hesitancy and a shortage of vaccine supply but started a mass campaign late last month

  
Syringes are seen in front of a displayed Pfizer logo in this illustration taken, November 10, 2020.

Syringes are seen in front of a displayed Pfizer logo in this illustration taken, November 10, 2020.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has made an agreement to procure 13 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer , the country's health minister said on Tuesday.

An exact timeline was not yet available, health minister Faisal Sultan told Reuters, but said the doses would arrive by the end of 2021, under an agreement the government has made with the manufacturer.

The country faced initial vaccination hesitancy and a shortage of vaccine supply but it started a mass vaccination campaign late last month that is now open to all adults. It has relied heavily on ally China for vaccine supplies.

On May 29, Pakistan received 100,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine through the COVAX facility, but authorities have only administered those to people who are immunocompromised and not suitable for other vaccines.

Nearly 13 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the country of 220 million people so far, with about 3.5 million people fully vaccinated, according to the National Command Operation Center, which is overseeing the pandemic response.

Pakistan has primarily used Chinese vaccines - Sinopharm, CanSinoBio and Sinovac - in its inoculation drive and, earlier this month began allowing those under 40 to receive AstraZeneca, of which it has a limited supply meant for people traveling to countries that require it.

Earlier this month Pakistan approved spending $1.1 billion on procuring vaccines, part of its goal to inoculate at least 70 million people.

Pakistan has registered a total of 949,838 cases and 22,034 deaths. On Monday, 663 new infections and 27 deaths were reported.

(Reporting by Umar Farooq; Editing by Stephen Coates) ((charlotte.greenfield@thomsonreuters.com; +92 300 856 6702; Reuters Messaging: charlotte.greenfield.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))


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