ISLAMABAD: The UN’s Covax Facility, aimed at covering priority groups - around 20 percent of the population, has confirmed that Pakistan will receive 17.2 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in the first half of 2021, including six to seven million doses by March 2021.
This has been stated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its updated report, "Policy Actions Taken by Countries" which reviewed various steps Pakistan has taken to deal with the Covid-19 crisis.
Pakistan kick started the vaccination drive in early February after receiving the first batch of 0.5 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine donated by China; another 0.6 million doses of the vaccine are expected to be delivered by the end of the month.
The government has also approved the Sputnik V vaccine and is in discussions with several of the vaccine manufacturers.
The authorities are also working on mobilising funds from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank for the direct purchase of additional vaccines in an amount of US$ 250 million.
To mitigate the second wave, smart lockdown measures were re-imposed in the fall (e.g. ban on public meetings and rallies, closure of educational institutes, cinemas, theaters, and wedding halls), but restrictions have started to be lifted again starting mid-January, the Fund added.
More recently, the second wave is showing signs of abating as the positivity rate decreased to less than the five percent mark.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021