PIA airlifts one million coronavirus vaccine doses from China

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ISLAMABAD: Three planes of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) carrying a consignment of one million COVID-19 vaccine doses arrived in Islamabad on Sunday as the country sees a sharp increase in new coronavirus cases. According to a National Health Ministry official, three PIA Boeing 777 aircraft have brought one million Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccines from China. The aircrafts had left for China on Saturday. Two special planes and a PIA regular flight were used to airlift the corona vaccine doses from Beijing. Moreover, Pakistan has also purchased another 30 million doses of COVID vaccine from China that will soon arrive in the country to help in a drive to vaccinate its over 220 million population. According to sources privy to the development, the country has purchased 30.5 million COVID vaccine doses from three Chinese companies. “Pakistan will purchase 20 million jabs of single-dose COVID vaccine from CanSino besides also purchasing 5.5 million doses from Sinopharm and 5 million from Sinovac,” they said. China previously gifted 1.5 million vaccine doses to Islamabad. It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan has already begun vaccinating elderly people aged above 60-year-old and health professionals. The vaccination of people in the age group 50-59 has also been started from April 21. Pakistan began a vaccination drive last month with over a million doses of Sinopharm vaccines donated by China. Islamabad received the first COVID-19 vaccine consignment after a military aircraft airlifted it from Beijing in February 1, this year. The pandemic has claimed 118 more lives in the country during the last 24 hours. According to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) data, 118 people died of Covid-19 in a single day, pushing the national tally to 17,117. As many as 5,611 new infections surfaced when 55,611 samples were tested. The country’s overall positivity ratio of new cases jumped to 10.17%, according to the NCOC.

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