The Covid-19 vaccine from AstrZzeneca pictured here on April 10, 2021, at the vaccination centre in the German city of Greifswald. Photo: Stefan Sauer/dpa
The Covid-19 vaccine from AstrZzeneca pictured here on April 10, 2021, at the vaccination centre in the German city of Greifswald. Photo: Stefan Sauer/dpa

Pakistan on Saturday received its first consignment of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine as the country of 220 million scrambles to secure more supplies amid a third wave of the pandemic.

The first shipment of over 1.2 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine has arrived in Islamabad, Rana Safdar, a senior Health Ministry official, told dpa.

Pakistan secured 17 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine through the World Health Organization’s COVAX programme. The first delivery was expected in March but got delayed due to an Indian ban on the export of the vaccine.

Meanwhile, Pakistan started processing China’s single-dose CanSino vaccine. The vaccine is expected to be available for use by the end of this month.

The South Asian country is currently using China’s Sinopharm and CanSino vaccines and has also allowed commercial sale of Covid-19 vaccines.

After some early reluctance, tens of thousands of people are getting themselves registered every day for vaccination following campaigns and warnings to encourage people to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

At least 3.3 million people have been vaccinated so far.

On Saturday, 4,109 new infections and 120 related deaths were reported by the Health Ministry. Pakistan has so far recorded 854,240 cases and 18,797 deaths in total.

The country has been put under the lockdown until May 16 during the Muslim holidays of Eid al-Fitar to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Incoming flights have already been slashed by 80 per cent, public transport has been banned during the holidays and tourist destinations put under curfew.

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