Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) for Health, Dr. Faisal Sultan said on Thursday that as part of the Covax program, around March 2, Pakistan will receive 2.8 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, followed by the next phase of vaccinating citizens against the coronavirus to begin.
Speaking at a press conference in Islamabad, he said, “According to our information, the dose of 2.8 million will reach by March 2. This is good news as we will be able to start vaccinating citizens in the next phase [of the vaccination program].”
Dr. Sultan said more than 52,000 frontline health workers have vaccinated so far. Calling them role models, he said vaccinated healthcare workers demonstrated “how much they trust the vaccine to work.”
As he developed the changes the government was making to their vaccination strategy, he said health care first responders have to register first. So then make a list and they were notified of a specific vaccination center they could go to for you.
“One small change has made. If you are a first line healthcare worker under 60 years old, all you have to do is send the Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) number to 1166 and then go to the nearest vaccination center. Your vaccinations will be given.”
A list of vaccination centers is also available on the National Command and Operations Center (NCOC) website, he added.
SAPM announced that the registration process for non-frontline healthcare workers. Such as, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists, will begin on February 22. Thus, “You can register via the website and visit any vaccination center and get vaccinated in two to three days.”
Furthermore, he speaking about the registration process for citizens over 65 years of age, he said they should send their CNIC number to 1166 without any hyphens or spaces. You will then receive a response with additional information about the vaccination mechanism.
“We have full hope that [his vaccination] will begin in early March.”
He said people can visit the NCOC website or the Ministry of Health website for more information.
SAPM provides clarity on which vaccine to use and says a Sinopharm vaccine made in China is currently in use.
Dr. Sultan said the government prioritizes vaccinating citizens over 65 because most of the country’s more than 12,500 Covid-related deaths are in this age group.
“I think it’s important to start vaccination. If you are over 65, register, and if you are under 65, help [people over that age] to register.”
Furthermore, he said “We do not recommend it for people over 60 years. This does not mean the vaccine is not safe or effective. The reason is when vaccine trials are run, data are analyzed and decisions are made. When testing is done there, there is adequate participation of people over 60 for statistical analysis. “
He urged the nation to “trust” the people chosen by the government to oversee the vaccination process and make decisions. “People have to be sure that officials are chosen by the government carefully screening and prioritizing public health.”
In addition, he said people over 60 years of age would get vaccine images from Oxford-AstraZeneca.
The Covax Covid-19 vaccination program released its first mailing list earlier this month and plans enough doses for dozens of countries to immunize more than three percent of their population by mid-year.
For the first time, it has determined how the program’s initial dose of 337.2 million will be distributed. The first delivery is expected in late February. Countries receiving doses proportional to their population, with most after India (97.2 million), Pakistan (17.2 million), Nigeria (16 million), Indonesia (13.7 million), Bangladesh (12.8 million) ) and Brazil (10.6 million) million).