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Pfizer vaccine will be administered on priority to Hajj pilgrims, overseas students and workers, says Umar

(Karachi) Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar has said that citizens intending to perform Hajj this year, those working abroad on work visas, and students traveling to other countries for studies will be given priority for the administration of the Pfizer vaccine.

Speaking to media persons in Islamabad on Thursday, Umar said that a limited quantity of Pfizer vaccine doses have been acquired by Pakistan this month. Therefore, he maintained that preference for administering the vaccine will be given to some segments.

However, he mentioned that Pakistan would receive more doses of Pfizer in the future.

The minister highlighted that a decision should be taken at the international level related to the countries not accepting vaccination certificates of Chinese vaccines as it would create problems for the entire world.

“If every country makes it mandatory for visitors to be inoculated by their choice of vaccine [brands], the entire world would suffer,” he said, adding that Chinese Covid-19 vaccines were the most exported brands in the world at present.

Earlier, more than 100,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrived in the country. The vaccine was provided to Pakistan free through COVAX, the WHO vaccine-sharing alliance.

The government is also planning to procure one to two million doses of Pfizer vaccine directly from the manufacturer through the National Disaster Management Authority.

There has been a sharp rise in Covid vaccine demand as more and more people are getting registered for the vaccination. As part of efforts to keep people safe from getting infected with coronavirus, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) decided to initiate a vaccination campaign on a massive scale under the “whole of the nation approach” in collaboration with various public and private partners.

The NCOC had set a target to vaccinate 70 million people by the end of this year. Planning Minister Asad Umar said that the acceleration of the vaccination drive in the country was made possible by the huge investment by the federal government.

He added that the government will spend much more next year on the procurement of vaccines.

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