Pakistan has signed an agreement with Pfizer to procure 1.3 crore doses of the American COVID-19 vaccine, a media report said on Tuesday.

An agreement was signed between Pfizer Pakistan and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) on Monday to supply 1.3 crore doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (BNT162b2), Dawn newspaper reported.

The delivery of the 13 million doses (1.3 crores) is planned during 2021, it said.

We are deeply honoured to work with the Pakistani government and to marshal our scientific and manufacturing resources toward our shared goal of bringing a Covid-19 vaccine to the people of Pakistan as quickly as possible, said Pfizer Pakistan Country Manager Syed Mohammad Wajeehuddin in a statement.

Chief Business and Chief Commercial Officer at BioNTech Sean Marett also thanked the Pakistani government for its support and trust in their ability to develop a vaccine that they believed could help address this global pandemic threat.

Our goal remains to deliver a global supply of a well-tolerated and effective Covid-19 vaccine for many people around the world, as quickly as we can, Marett said. Pfizer and BioNTech aim to manufacture more than three billion doses of the vaccine globally by the end of this year.

Also, a total of 630 diplomats from 57 countries and employees of the United Nations (UN) agencies have been vaccinated at the National Institute of Health (NIH), according to the NIH.

An official of the NIH, requesting anonymity, said according to rules, only Pakistani nationals were entitled to the free vaccine, but last month it was decided to allow diplomats and employees of UN agencies to avail the facility.

So far over 630 people from 57 countries have been vaccinated. As per procedure, embassies and UN agencies share the list of employees with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for inoculation. We have established a vaccination centre at the NIH for diplomats and foreigners, he said.

Replying to a question, the official said the diplomats were given the choice from available vaccines and the majority opted for Chinese vaccines.

Some of the diplomats wanted to be inoculated with AstraZeneca. There was also a demand for Pfizer, but they were told that the American vaccine could only be given to immuno-compromised persons, he said.

It is worth mentioning here that so far 100,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine have arrived under Covax, an international alliance that has pledged free vaccines for the 20 per cent population of Pakistan.

In a related development, Pakistan received the second shipment of the emergency medical equipment donated by the US government through USAID Pakistan, according to the US embassy.

The shipment includes personal protective equipment that can be used by more than 13,500 frontline healthcare workers and 600 ICU and operation theatre staff.

There has been a temporary shortage of vaccines in Pakistan, according to top Pakistan health official.

“There are more than 2,000 vaccination centres in the country and the number of visitors varies. So there may be a shortage of vaccines in some centres,” Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, Health, Dr Faisal Sultan said on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Pakistan on Tuesday recorded the lowest number of new coronavirus cases in eight months.

According to the Ministry of National Health Services, 663 news cases were reported in the last 24 hours, the lowest since 660 recorded on October 20 last year.

These new cases are also the lowest during the third wave which hit the country at the beginning of March and peaked on April 17 when 6,127 new cases were reported in a single day.

Pakistan’s highest number of new cases were 6,472 which were detected on June 13, 2020, when the country was passing through the first wave of the pandemic.

The positivity rate also dropped to 1.7 per cent which is the lowest this year.

The ministry also reported that 27 more people died in the last 24 hours, taking the COVID-19 death toll to 22,034, while the national tally of confirmed cases reached 949,838.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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