Pakistan begins nationwide coronavirus vaccination drive

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The national immunization drive against coronavirus kicked off on Wednesday simultaneously in all the provinces.

According to the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), the first tranche of COVID-19 vaccine has reached all the federating units, including Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan.
Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar initiated the national immunisation drive in a special ceremony while the chief ministers of all provinces, including Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Kashmir Prime Minister, participated in the event via video link.
Asad Umar thanked all the stakeholders and political leaders who work jointly in country’s fight against the virus.
The provinces also held separate events to start the vaccination drive.
Pakistan received 0.5 million doses of Sinopharm vaccine on Monday which is being administered to the frontline healthcare workers in the first phase.
The authorities have made special arrangements for the distribution of the vaccine across the country in a secured environment under a security plan devised by the NCOC.
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz says that people are being benefited from the successful strategy of Prime Minister Imran Khan regarding COVID-19 vaccination.
In a tweet on Wednesday, he said that starting the vaccination campaign simultaneously in all provinces is a practical step that the federal government is providing equal chances to all federating units. He said that provision of health and job opportunities to people are the priorities of the government.
On Tuesday, PM Imran kicked off coronavirus vaccination drive and once again reminded the people to continue to exercise precautions.
Under the supervision of the prime minister, his adviser on health Dr Faisal Sultan, and NCOC chief Asad Umar, the first vaccine was administered in Pakistan — given to a healthcare worker in Islamabad.
“The more you abide by coronavirus safety measures, the easier it will be to protect everyone from the virus,” said PM Imran Khan, addressing a gathering to mark the occasion.
“I congratulate [all those present here] for working at great speed to import a vaccine. We also thank China for gifting us 500,000 vaccines,” he said.
The prime minister said that similar to the shot the doctor had received, healthcare workers across the country that work with coronavirus patients will be the first to be given the jab, after which the age groups most at risk will be administered the shot.
The premier also sought to assure the nation that the vaccine distribution across the various provinces is being done in a “just” manner. “No one should think we distributed more vaccines in a given province than in others.”
He stressed the importance of healthcare workers getting the shot as “all over the world it is the healthcare workers that are most at risk”.
“I also wish to stress to the nation the importance of coronavirus SOPs (standard operating procedures) and especially, wearing a mask.
The prime minister said that schools have been reopened and so will hospitals soon enough. “Our cases are at a decline right now. The more you follow SOPs, the easier it will be to save our people from coronavirus.”
He said that other countries, owing to the high death rate, have had to go for complete lockdowns.
“Our economy is running and it is the service sector that has been curtailed. If you exercise caution, then all remaining sectors will be reopened,” PM Imran Khan said.

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