The National Immunisation Drive against COVID-19 formally commenced on Tuesday with a ceremony at the National Command and Control Centre (NCOC) in Islamabad. Prime Minister Imran Khan, Asad Umar, Fawad Chaudhry, Dr Faisal Sultan and Dr Sania Nishtar were among those present at the event.
According to Umar, Dr Rana Imran Sikander, who heads the COVID ward at PIMS Hospital in Islamabad, was the first person to receive the vaccination in the country.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar lauded the sacrifices and services of frontline healthcare workers for serving the nation during the pandemic.
“Frontline healthcare workers are our real heroes,” said the minister. “No doubt they have put their lives at risk in their fight against COVID-19 and we pay tribute to all of them.”
He also thanked the Government of China for supporting Pakistan during the pandemic and donating vaccine to the country. Umar also paid tribute to the NCOC team and provincial authorities working in close liaison in the fight against the virus.
The next day on Wednesday, separate ceremonies were held in all the provinces and federating units at the same time, where healthcare workers received their first dose of the vaccine. Healthcare workers are being inoculated with the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine imported from China.
Meanwhile, addressing a press conference on Wednesday, Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on National Health Services Dr Faisal Sultan said an effective mechanism has been developed to ensure the administration of the COVID vaccine to the people.
Dr Faisal said adult vaccine centres have been established across the country which currently have the capacity to administer the vaccine to forty thousand people on daily basis. He said this capacity will be further enhanced in the coming days.
The SAPM added that the government aims to inoculate seventy percent population by the end of this year.