Pakistan PM Imran Khan takes first dose of COVID-19 vaccine

Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday received his first dose of coronavirus vaccine. This comes a day after the South Asian nation received half a million doses of coronavirus vaccines donated by China.

The second consignment of the Sinopharm vaccine was received by Pakistan health officials at the Nur Khan airbase in Rawalpindi. Sinopharm, the only vaccine currently available in the country, requires two doses.

Earlier, China donated 500,000 doses of Sinopharm to Pakistan on February 1, enabling the country to launch a vaccination drive a day later.

The country, which has reported 615,810 COVID-19 cases so far, launched COVID-19 vaccinations for the public on March 10, starting with older people. Health workers started receiving shots in early February.

According to Al Jazeera, vaccination uptake has been slow in Pakistan, where authorities have faced a significant amount of vaccine hesitancy among the general public and healthcare workers.

Pakistan is expecting to get GAVI’s first batch of 2.8 million doses of AstraZeneca sometime later this month, officials said.

Besides Sinopharm and AstraZeneca, Pakistan has approved Russia’s Sputnik and China’s CanSino Biologics Inc’s (CanSinoBIO) vaccines for emergency use.

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