Pakistan Receives 300,000 Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine as New Variants Emerge

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Following the emergence of new Covid-19 variants worldwide, Pakistan has secured 300,000 more doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Dr. Mumtaz Ali Khan, Chief of the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) at the National Institute of Health (NIH), told a national daily that while no country has yet made COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for travel, Saudi Arabia may consider doing so due to the expected gatherings during Ramadan and Hajj.

He added that the vaccines were provided free of charge by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) upon the Pakistani government’s request.

“Currently, we are getting demand from the provinces and the health facilities of the federal capital that the vaccine be provided. We had planned to arrange the vaccine in the month of February, and now it has been arranged,” he said

In response to a question, Dr. Khan said that Pakistan is among the countries where the new coronavirus variant’s cases were reported.

“There is a possibility that some new variants may surface in the coming months. It is our responsibility to ensure the availability of vaccines,” he added.

It is pertinent to mention that last year in September, a sub-variant of Omicron, known as JN.1, began circulating in the United States. By December, the virus had accelerated its spread and reached several countries, including Pakistan.

The World Health Organization (WHO) officially recognized JN.1 as a variant of interest on December 19 due to its “rapidly increasing spread.”

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