The United States announced Friday an additional 9.6 million doses of Pfizer coronavirus vaccine are being shipped to Pakistan through the global vaccine-sharing COVAX initiative.
The shipment brings to more than 25 million the total number of COVID-19 vaccine doses donated by Washington to the Pakistani people, said the American Embassy in Islamabad.
“The United States is proud to partner with Pakistan to get effective, life-saving Pfizer vaccinations into the arms of Pakistanis, and Pakistan has done a great job of distributing our donated vaccines,” U.S. Chargé d’affaires Angela Aggeler was quoted as saying. “This donation comes just in time for young Pakistanis over age 12 to get their first jabs.”
COVID-19 infections are decreasing in Pakistan, with fewer than 1,000 new daily cases reported on average. The government last week eased restrictions on almost all public movement, education activities and businesses across the country of roughly 220 million people.
The latest government data show there have been 1,262,771 confirmed cases of infections, 39,953 of them active, and 28,228 COVID-19-related deaths since the pandemic hit Pakistan.
Officials reported Friday that more than 95 million doses have been administered to Pakistanis, including roughly 1 million in last 24 hours alone, since the national vaccination drive was rolled out in February.
The vaccination campaign has largely relied on Chinese vaccine, but the U.S. donations are helping officials overcome critical shortages of Western-developed anti-coronavirus shots.
“These Pfizer vaccines are part of the 500 million Pfizer doses the United States purchased this summer to deliver to 92 countries worldwide, including Pakistan, to fulfill President [Joe] Biden’s commitment to provide safe and effective vaccines around the world and supercharge the global fight against the pandemic,” the U.S. Embassy noted in its statement.
Washington has also delivered $63 million in COVID-19 assistance to Islamabad.
The COVAX program is co-led by Gavi (the Vaccine Alliance), the WHO (World Health Organization) and CEPI (the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness). The United States is the single largest contributor supporting the initiative toward global COVID-19 vaccine access.