PESHAWAR: The second consignment of 3 million doses of Moderna (mRNA-1273) COVID-19 vaccines donated by the Government of the United States to the COVAX Facility arrived in Pakistan during early hours of Monday, bringing the total doses donated by the US Government to Pakistan through COVAX to 5.5 million since 8 May.

The donation is part of the 870 million additional COVID-19 vaccine doses pledged by the G7 through the COVAX Facility dose-sharing mechanism to support global equitable access to vaccines in 2021 and 2022, with the aim to deliver at least half by the end of 2021.

COVAX, the global COVID-19 vaccine equity scheme, has delivered a total 8 million doses of vaccine to Pakistan since 8 May, including 2.5 million doses of AstraZeneca, 100,000 doses Pfizer and 5.5 million doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, says a press release.

To date, close to 7 million people have been fully vaccinated and nearly 20 million partially vaccinated in Pakistan since the start of the national vaccination campaign in February 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan has now reached close to a million, while nearly 23,000 people are reported to have succumbed to the disease.

“Despite national, regional and global efforts, the pandemic is nowhere near finished. WHO will continue to work with the Government of Pakistan and donors to implement activities to control transmission and advocate for equitable vaccine access and distribution. Vaccines are key in the fight again COVID-19 and we encourage everyone to get their vaccine immediately,” says Dr Palitha Mahipala, WHO Representative in Pakistan.

“We thank the US Government for expressing their solidarity with Pakistan through this donation. Nobody is safe until everyone is safe.”

The allocation of extra doses of COVID-19 vaccines by G7 countries to COVAX will not only limit the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19, it will also prevent new variants from emerging.

“UNICEF thanks the Government of the United States for its generous contribution to the COVAX dose-sharing mechanism. This is an important step in the continued fight against COVID-19. UNICEF commends the Government of Pakistan for its leadership in ensuring a smooth roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign and urges the population to get vaccinated and continue taking COVID-19 precautionary measures,” said Aida Girma, UNICEF Representative in Pakistan.

“UNICEF will continue to support the national response to COVID-19 campaign in Pakistan through procurement services of essential COVID-19 supplies; expansion of cold chain capacity to ensure safe storage of vaccines; risk communication and community engagement to increase vaccine uptake and enforce SOPs and efficient and effective management of the COVID-19 Call Centre 1166.”

Strictly complying with COVID-19 public health and social measures continues to be critical to stop the spread of virus, after getting vaccinated. These include regularly wearing face masks, washing hands with soap for at least 20 seconds or use a sanitizer; remaining at least six feet away from other people; avoiding crowded places; and staying at home and seeking care when having COVID-19 symptoms.

The goal of COVAX is to help address the acute phase of the global pandemic by the end of 2021 by providing rapid, fair and equitable access to safe and effective vaccines for all participating countries and territories regardless of income level.

The COVAX Facility, co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO, together with UNICEF, aims to provide access to quality-assured COVID-19 vaccines, enabling the protection of frontline health care and social workers, as well as other high-risk and vulnerable groups.

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