Islamabad [Pakistan], May 26 (ANI): Amid the deadly third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pakistan's Federal Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Minister Asad Umar announced on Wednesday that the country will start the registration of persons aged 19 and above for vaccination against the virus.
In a tweet, Umar said the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) will start the registration on Thursday.
"In today's NCOC meeting we decided to open up vaccination registration for all 19 years and above. This registration will start from tomorrow. So now registration will be open for the entire national population which is approved by health experts for covid vaccination," he tweeted.
A day earlier, the Pakistan government had started production of China's single-dose CanSino vaccine at the National Institute of Health (NIH), reported Dawn.
Pakistan will start production of China's single-dose vaccine to reduce the country's dependence on importing vaccines from other countries, according to a government official. The vaccines are named PakVac, however, the authorities are considering reverting back to using the name CanSinoBio.
An official of the NIH, requesting not to be named, said 120,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been packed and hopefully a launching ceremony would be held by the end of the current month, Dawn reported.
"The test trial of the first batch has been completed, which included stability test, safety test, sterility test and spike protein test. Overall 120,000 doses have been prepared and a tentative date for the launching ceremony is May 30," the NIH official said.
CanSino was the first Chinese vaccine to have undergone clinical trial in Pakistan and was administered to around 18,000 people.
Meanwhile, as COVID-19 vaccines are unavailable to most of the population in Pakistan due to private sales and higher prices, leading critics believe that the country is making inoculations only for the wealthy.
Two doses of the Sputnik V vaccine cost as high as USD 80, while the monthly income of an average worker in Pakistan is about USD 110. Moreover, tight supplies have created hurdles for vaccine sales in Pakistan, making them available for only a fraction of the country's population, reported The New York Times.
Amid the increasing demand for vaccines, Pakistani hospitals cannot find vaccines to buy and the government is locked in a dispute with private importers over prices. As COVID-19 cases are rapidly surging in Pakistan, the cumulative count of infections in the country crossed 900,000 mark on Sunday. (ANI)