By Kaswar Klasra
Islamabad: Frontline workers fighting the Pandemic of Covid-19 in Pakistan have once again expressed gratitude for China after Beijing asked Prime Minister Imran Khan to send a plane to collect 500,000 doses of China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine free of cost by January 31st.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi confirmed this in Islamabad on Wednesday addressing a press conference.“I feel pleasure to announce that our iron brother China has once again come to rescue us. The government of China has gifted us 500K doses of much needed vaccine.
The Chinese foreign Minister has told me to send over a plane to airlift this medicine right away,” Shah Mahmood said. “It is indeed good news and frontline workers including doctors and paramedical staff will be the first to receive it,” Qureshi added.
“We are grateful to the Government of China for being generous to us. China has been helping Pakistan since the day Pakistan found the first case of Covid-19. China had sent plane loads of Personal Protection Kits (PPE) for doctors and Paramedical staff. And now, it has gifted a much awaited vaccine for us,” Professor Shabbir Ahmed Nasir, Chief Executive Officer of Multan Medical & Dental College (MMDC), told this correspondent over telephone.
“The Pandemic of Covid-19 has so far engulfed the lives of many frontline workers in Pakistan. I am one of the survivors from this deadly virus. Doctors and paramedical staff in Pakistan and the world over have been left at the mercy of this virus. Glad, China has once again come to rescue us,” Professor Shabbir said.
Pakistan expects to receive the latest vaccine by January 31st. It will be given to front line workers including doctors and medical staff across Pakistan who are playing a critical role in the fight against the Pandemic. China has informed Pakistan that the supply of vaccine was ready and Pakistan can send a plane to collect it. Until January 23, 2021, Pakistan has recorded at least 527,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection, with more than 11,000 deaths since the outbreak was detected in late February last year.
Advisor to Prime Minister on Health, Dr. Sultan told journalists in Islamabad earlier this Wednesday that the government plans to vaccinate at least 70% of its population to achieve herd immunity. “We have enhanced the existing National Immunization Expansion Program (EPI) to distribute and inject the coronavirus vaccine. We will provide the COVID-19 vaccine to the public free of charge.
However, the first batch of doses will be given to frontline healthcare professionals in the first quarter of 2021,” Dr. Sultan told journalists. “Doctors, Paramedical staff and Frontline workers have been risking lives to save the Nation from the Pandemic of Covid-19. We have lost hundreds of colleagues, including senior doctors and non-Medical staff at hospitals.
China first resumed us by providing PPEs, Masks and Ventilators and now gifts of vaccine. We are grateful to China for doing the needs in the critical days we are passing through,” Doctor Sonia Ali Hina told this correspondent.
Until December 3, 2020, as many as 154 health professionals, including 128 doctors and 26 paramedics died after contracting coronavirus. Dr Usama Riaz, a Gilgit-Baltistan-based physician, was the first health professional to fall prey to the disease on March 3, 2020.
First published by China Economic Net.