Pakistan’s coronavirus inoculation drive kicked off today at the headquarters of the National Command and Operation Center in Islamabad. Asad Umar, Chairman of NCOC headed the vaccination ceremony where frontline workers were one of the first to be vaccinated against the virus. Simultaneously, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also held its vaccination inauguration ceremony, bestowing healthcare workers with medals of honor. Murad Ali Shah, Sindh’s Chief Minister, held a similar event in Sindh, prioritizing frontline workers as the first batches of the vaccine arrive in Pakistan. All provinces held their respective vaccination inauguration ceremonies.

Senator Shibli Faraz, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, commended Prime Minister Imran Khan for his efforts to combat the virus. He stated that simultaneous inoculation drives in all provinces were an important indicator of equal opportunities for all federal units.

Asad Umar expressed his gratitude to frontline workers, terming them as the ‘true heroes’ of the pandemic. On Tuesday, Dr Rana Imran Sikander, head of the coronavirus ward at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) became the first person to receive the vaccination.

The Prime Minister, while speaking at the occasion on Tuesday, congratulated the government’s health team for successfully securing the vaccines in a short amount of time, while also thanking China for giving Pakistan 500,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine.

He also outlined the demographic coverage of the inoculation programme, informing the citizens that the vaccine will be first administered to health workers working with Covid-19 patients, followed by the elderly in the high-risk age group. “This (vaccine) is being distributed equitably among all the provinces so no one thinks we’ve provided more of it to one province,” he said.

The premier encouraged all frontline workers to get vaccinated against the virus, saying they were one of the highest groups at-risk. “If Allah has blessed Pakistan as compared to the rest of the world, we should be grateful for that and take full precautions,” he emphasised, while asking the public to wear a mask, regularly sanitize, and practise social distancing. 

Till date, the number of COVID-19 cases in Pakistan has reached more than 547,000 infections, while 11,746 people have succumbed to the virus.


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