COVID vaccination for senior citizens to start from March 10: Asad Umar

Pakistan will start the COVID-19 vaccination drive for those aged 60 and above from March 10, the government announced on Sunday amid a surge in coronavirus cases in the country.

The vaccination of people 60 years and older will be starting from Wednesday the 10th of March. Vaccinations will be done in reverse order by age. This means the oldest person who has registered will be vaccinated first, he said, adding that more details will be issued on Monday.

The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan on March 4 approved the use of the Chinese COVID-19 vaccine Sinopharm for people over 60 years of age, reversing an earlier decision not to use it for this age group.

The authorization of Sinopharm would enable the government to start the much-awaited vaccination of old citizens, which was initially to start in the first week of March.

So far, four vaccines -Sinophram (China), Oxford-AstraZeneca (UK), Sputnik-V (Russia) and Cansino Bio (China) have been registered in the country.

The Pakistan government earlier said that it is not planning to buy vaccines anytime soon as it aims to tackle the COVID-19 challenge through herd immunity and donated vaccines from friendly countries like China.

Pakistan is experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases as the positivity rate rose to 4.5 percent after 1,780 new cases appeared in the last 24 hours, taking the national tally to 590,508.

According to the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS), the death toll from the coronavirus has reached 13,205 with 39 fatalities in the last 24 hours.

Pakistan’s positivity rate mostly remained below 3 percent in February but started going up this month and now has crossed 4 percent.

Officials have warned that the third wave of the coronavirus could hit the country if steps are not taken to stop the spread of the pandemic.