Pakistani cricketers including Zaheer Abbas and Sarfraz Nawaz have received the coronavirus vaccination from the United Kingdom (UK).
Nawaz said the vaccine is safe and people should get it done as it will help control the disease.
Earlier this week, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan had said Pakistan will receive its first batch of the coronavirus vaccine directly from manufacturers, as well as the global platform of COVAX, in the first quarter of the year.
Moreover, the government will be ordering doses from more than one international supplier within this quarter, Dr Sultan said.
Pakistan will only procure vaccines that have been approved by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) “after evaluation of its quality vis a vis efficacy data”, Dr. Sultan explained.
Last week, the DRAP approved for emergency use authorisation two COVID-19 vaccines, the Chinese manufactured Sinopharm, and the Oxford-AstraZeneca. In the near future, the doctor added, more vaccines will also be given a go-ahead by the regulatory body.
A health official, on the condition of anonymity, said that one other vaccine being examined by DRAP at the moment is the Ad5-nCoV, developed by a Chinese pharmaceutical firm, which underwent trials in Pakistan recently.
Besides procuring the drug directly, Pakistan will also receive its first tranche of vaccines from COVAX, a World Health Organisation-led initiative that aims to provide COVID-19 vaccines to poor countries, in the first quarter of the year.
Pakistan is already putting modalities in place to receive and distribute the vaccine.
“All necessary preparations are being done to start a mass inoculation campaign within Q1,” Dr Sultan said, “This includes infrastructure, framework, training and capacity.”
In the first phase, the vaccine will only be administered to healthcare workers dealing directly with coronavirus infected and those over the age of 65 years.