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Karachi: Overseas Pakistanis staged on Monday a protest at Islamabad’s F-9 mass vaccination centre, calling on the government to inoculate them with the Pfizer vaccine.

Saudi Arabia and some other countries in the Middle East are not accepting certificates of the Chinese-manufactured Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccine. In Pakistan, most of the vaccines being administered are Chinese.

In a press conference, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed had earlier stated that Prime Minister Imran Khan was engaged in talks with the leaders of these countries regarding the issue.

Holding placards, the protesters demanded that the guidelines by the National Command and Operation Centre regarding the Pfizer vaccine be changed. They said that they were stuck in Pakistan, unemployed, demanding that they be administered the vaccine approved by Saudi Arabia.

Talking to Aaj News, Parliamentary Secretary for National Health Services Dr Nausheen Hamid said that they had an understanding with Covax, the World Health Organisation's global shared vaccine programme, that the vaccine will be administered to health compromised patients on priority.

Last month, Pakistan received 100,000 doses of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine through Covax, the World Health Organisation's global shared vaccine programme. Federal Planning Minister Asad Umar had said that due to a limited number of doses, only those travelling abroad for Hajj or work/education will be administered the vaccine.

However, the NCOC changed its policy and said that only people with weak immune systems will be vaccinated with Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine.

The government will provide Punjab with 26,000 doses, Sindh 12,000, Khyber- Pakhtunkhwa 8,000, Balochistan 2,000, Islamabad 1,000, Azad Jammu and Kashmir 100 and Gilgit-Baltistan 1,000.

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