WASHINGTON: As Pakistan deals with a surge in COVID-19 cases due to the delta variant, the United States will begin moving 4 million doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to the country on Thursday, a White House spokesperson told VOA.
The 4,149,990 doses, sent through COVAX, the global vaccine-sharing initiative co-led by Gavi (the Vaccine Alliance), the WHO (World Health Organization) and CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness), are in addition to the more than 9.2 million doses of Moderna and Pfizer vaccine already donated to Pakistan since June.
“As President Biden has said: the United States is committed to bringing the same urgency to international vaccination efforts that we have demonstrated at home,” the spokesperson stated in an email. “We are working to get as many safe and effective vaccines to as many people around the world as fast as possible.”
The Pakistani government said it has administered 56.7 million doses to its people, but health officials say millions of people in the country are unwilling to receive a shot, despite a surge in new infections and sufficient vaccine supplies. Pakistan has imposed lockdowns several times since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic
The country’s national vaccination campaign has largely relied on Chinese vaccines, but the U.S. donations are helping officials overcome critical shortages of Western-developed anti-coronavirus shots.
One Million doses of Sputnik V vaccines also arrived in Pakistan Wednesday, according to a tweet by Sputnik V. Despite concerns about the Russian vaccine, Dr Faisal Sultan, special assistant to Pakistan’s prime minister, has told VOA Urdu that Pakistan was satisfied with the results of the Russian vaccine. The vaccine is being imported and sold by the private sector after the government’s approval.
Pakistan government data show the country has had 1,163,688 cases, 93,901of them active. The country has had close to 26,000 COVID-19-related deaths and is dealing with rampant infections from the delta variant.