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ISLAMABAD: Government has purchased 13 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine from three Chinese companies, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) Faisal Sultan told Reuters on Thursday. He said Pakistan had procured the vaccine from Sinopharm, CanSinoBio and Sinovac.

The purchased vaccine is expected to begin arriving in May with 6.7 million doses and the rest in June. He didn't give a breakdown of how many shots each were supplying, saying there could be some plus and minus for each given the pressure on companies.

"We will be continuously procuring from all available sources across the world," he said. "For now, China remains the primary source for vaccines to meet our present and ongoing needs but all our options are open for effective and safe vaccines," he said.

Sultan said first tranche of GAVI/COVAX programme that was due early March would also be arriving to add to the latest procurement.

"We are likely to get around 2.4 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine under GAVI/COVAX over the period of May and June," he said, adding that "the possible source for this initial tranche may be South Korea."

COVID cases have been rising steadily in the South Asian nation of 220 million which recorded 201 deaths on Tuesday, the highest since the pandemic began. The Health ministry said total deaths crossed 17,680 with over 150 on Thursday with 5,480 coronavirus cases adding to a total of 815,711.

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