ISLAMABAD, June 22 — Pakistan has made an agreement to procure 13 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer, the country’s health minister said today.
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 Centre, 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 US$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. Yesterday, 663 new infections and 27 deaths were reported. — Reuters