Pakistan seals deal for 13m Pfizer vaccine doses

Pfizer-BioNTech covid-19 vaccine

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Pfizer-BioNTech covid-19 vaccine

Pakistan has signed a deal with Pfizer to receive 13 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, officials said on Tuesday, after a lack of the life-saving shots prompted streets protests.

An agreement was signed by Pfizer Pakistan and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) for 13 million doses over the course of 2021.

“We expect to receive the first batch very soon,’’ a senior Health Ministry official told dpa.

Pakistan’s vaccination drive, which picked up pace recently, is facing a shortage of supplies, with protests reported in Karachi and Lahore last week.

On Tuesday, a large number of frustrated expatriates protested at Islamabad’s mega vaccination centre.

Pakistan, a country of 216 million people, was relying heavily on Chinese vaccines that include Sinopharm, SinoVac, and CanSinoBio.

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Authorities lifted a ban on the use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine for people under 40 to help inoculate people who need to travel for education or jobs abroad, particularly to Saudi Arabia.

Pakistan’s vaccination drive started in February. More than 12.9 million people have been administered at least one dose.

The goal is to have 70 million people vaccinated by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, Pakistan reported its lowest number of new daily infections in more than eight months as the national positivity ratio dropped to 1.69 per cent.

At least 663 new cases and 27 related deaths were reported during the last 24 hours, according to the Health Ministry.

Pakistan so far had recorded 949,838 cases and 22,034 deaths.