Pakistan has received a Chinese donation of 500,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine, bringing the country’s total supply to one million shots, Health Minister Dr. Faisal Sultan said.
The South Asian nation of 220 million people launched COVID-19 vaccinations for the public on March 10, starting with older people. Health workers started receiving shots in early February.
“These 500,000 doses will ensure the smooth continuation of our vaccine drive, currently underway for senior citizens,” Sultan said in a tweet on Wednesday.
The next batch of Sinopharm vaccine was received today. These 500,000 doses will ensure smooth continuation of our vaccination drive, currently underway for senior citizens. We're grateful to China for their support. This gesture is a testament to our long-standing friendship pic.twitter.com/fbS3kfmFQc
— Faisal Sultan (@fslsltn) March 17, 2021
Sinopharm, the only vaccine currently available in the country, requires two doses.
Vaccination uptake has been slow in Pakistan, where authorities have faced a significant amount of vaccine hesitancy among the general public and healthcare workers.
The percentage of COVID-19 tests coming back positive across the country has touched 6.26 percent and crossed 11 percent in Punjab, the largest province.
In the Pakistani subset, the efficacy of the CanSinoBIO vaccine at preventing symptomatic cases was 74.8 percent and 100 percent at preventing severe disease.
Authorities last week reversed a decision to allow large indoor gatherings such as cinemas, theatres, and marriage halls in Pakistan after opening up almost all sectors of society.