ISLAMABAD: The shipment of AstraZeneca’s Covishield vaccine through COVAX to Pakistan has been delayed to May or even. The Serum Institute of India (SII), which is supplying the vaccine to the international donor COVAX, reduced its supply to the agency as it redirected stock to meet India’s rising domestic demand.
The development comes at a time when Pakistan was gearing up to kick off its mass inoculation program in earnest. As of now, Pakistan is also dealing with the Third Wave of Covid-19, the deadliest the country has yet seen.
Due to negligence in procuring vaccine, the country has only managed to vaccinate 0.25% of its population. As of now, Pakistan is relying on the 1.5 million stock of Chinese Sinopharm vaccine which was donated by China.
Federal Minister Asad Umar, who heads the NCOC, said, “If the increase continues at this rate then in the next few days or next week, we will go beyond the level and peak we saw in the first wave in June last.”
As a result of the delay in the COVAX shipment, Pakistan has ordered 1 million additional doses of the Sinophram vaccine, in addition to the 60,000 doses of the single-dose Convidecia vaccine by China. Both shipments are expected to arrive in Pakistan on Tuesday, March 30.
“We are in regular communication with COVAX. There is not yet any confirmed date of delivery for them”, said Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination Dr Faisal Sultan.