Pakistanis shy away from vaccine as inoculation drive is set to launch next week
A Gallup Pakistan survey which involved 1,000 participants and was conducted between December 24, 2020 to January 15, 2021, found that 49 percent preferred not to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus disease while 39 percent stated they would get inoculated once the vaccine was available. When asked about vaccine preference, 39 percent said they would opt for a Pakistan-made vaccine (despite the fact that Pakistan has not revealed any plans to develop its own COVID-19 drug), while 19 percent said they would get any government-recommended vaccine. 13 percent preferred Chinese vaccines, four percent opted for vaccines developed in the US or Europe, and just one percent said they would get Russian-made vaccines.
Currently the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has approved three vaccines for emergency use – the Chinese state-owned Sinopharm, the UK’s Oxford-AstraZeneca and Russia’s Sputnik-V. Pakistan may also receive America’s Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine through the World Health Organization’s (WHO) COVAX program, which has pledged 40 million free vaccines to poor nations.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr. Faisal Sultan on Wednesday announced that all government-backed vaccines will be free for citizens. Some 400,000 frontline healthcare workers have registered to be vaccinated as the first shipment of 500,000 free vaccine vials are expected to arrive from China this Sunday. Federal Minister for Planning, Development, Reforms and Special Initiatives, and head of the National Command and Operations Center (NCOC) Asad Umar announced that Pakistan would begin vaccinating its registered frontline healthcare workers from next week. He further mentioned that the provinces are about to conclude training for vaccinators, and that hundreds of vaccination centers outfitted with the necessary equipment have been set up across country ahead.