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Thursday, May 25, 2023

Pakistan still waiting for the vaccines Germany promised

Dr. Faisal Sultan confirmed in a brief statement that Germany has still not sent the 15M doses of Covid vaccines that Islamabad was due to receive from Berlin under the COVAX program by May.

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Pakistan does not have “any visibility” of 15 million coronavirus vaccine doses that Germany promised to provide by May, a top health official said on Tuesday.

“We don’t have any visibility of this delivery at this point,” Dr. Faisal Sultan, adviser to the prime minister on health affairs, told Anadolu Agency in a brief message.

Germany agreed to provide the jabs to Islamabad during Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s visit last month.

Read more: Looking for vaccines: what is Pakistan doing wrong?

The 15 million doses were to be delivered by May under the COVAX facility, an initiative backed by the World Health Organization that aims to ensure equitable provision of COVID-19 vaccines, FM Qureshi said on Twitter after meeting his counterpart Heiko Maas in Berlin on April 13.

Battling a third wave of the virus, Pakistan is currently vaccinating frontline healthcare workers and citizens aged 40 and above with China’s Sinopharm and CanSino jabs.

Private hospitals in major cities are also using Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine that has been imported by a local pharmaceutical company.

Islamabad has also approved emergency use of UK’s AstraZeneca and China’s CoronaVac vaccines, but both are yet to be used in the country.

Pakistan is aiming to ramp up its immunization campaign in the summer and expects to receive 13.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of June.

According to Dr. Sultan, who effectively acts as the health minister, the South Asian country has so far placed orders for 30 million doses with different companies.

Read more: Pakistan to locally produce single-dose COVID-19 vaccine

Pakistan reported 3,377 new infections and 161 more fatalities, the second-highest daily count since last March, on Tuesday, raising its overall tally to 837,523, including 18,310 deaths.

Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk