Pakistans’s national covid immunization program is progressing steadily, around 250000 citizens are being inoculated daily. Initially Pakistan had to rely on Chinese covid19 vaccines due to muliple reasons including lack of availability of vaccines to developing countries by European manufacturers, cost and some others issues.
Initial vaccination was done with the Sinopharm vaccine shots, having approximately 79% efficiacy. Followed by the shots by Cansionobio, a single shot vaccine that is also now being manufactured in Pakistan and Sinovac.
The private sector has also started inoculation with the Sputnik vaccine manufactured by Russia.
For effective disease control and limiting the pandemic a considerable population needs to be vaccinated, Govt depends upon the WHO/UNICEF’s vaccine provision program to developing countries to cover around 20% of its population under the Covax program.
Initially Pakistan was to be supplied with AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured in India by March 2021, but unfortunately due to the Critical Covid situation in India coupled with the not so friendly foreign relations between the two countries there was no vaccine delivery to Pakistan.
Later on in April 2021 Pakistan received its first Astrazeneca shipment under the Covax program fron South Korea which according to the National health authorities is being inoculated only to people aged 40 plus.
Currently the vaccination program is open for all 19 years plus citizens with walk-in vaccination for those 30 and above.
An issue faced by some people wanting to travel to foreign countries is that some countries have only allowed entry to people inoculated with the CDC approved vaccines ( Moderna/Pfizer/Johnson and Johnson’s/AstraZeneca) or otherwise face mandatory quarantine.
Yesterday Pakistan received its first shipment of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine under the covax program. This will allow allow Pakistani travelers to have an approved vaccine for foreign travel until the other vaccines are approved by the WHO/National health authorities of foreign countries.
The Pfizer-bioNtech vaccine is a mRNA based vaccine and is among the most efficacious in preventing covid infection. The clinical trials revealed an efficacy of 95%. Though it should be noted that currently there are no recommendations for or against any vaccine, WHO & CDC USA state that all vaccines are safe and efficacious and one should get the vaccine available instead of waiting for a particular brand.
The distribution of the pfizer vaccine to National vaccination centers would start in few days, getting the pfizer or any other vaccine is easy, just send an sms to 1166 with your cnic number or register on the national vaccination portal and visit your designated vaccination center on the specified date or if your age is above 30 just walk-in to any govt vaccination center and get your free vaccine dose. The govt has yet to clarify the exact criteria for vaccinating the pfizer vaccine.