The first consignment of 1,238,400 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX Facility reached Islamabad on 8 May 2021. This shipment will be followed by another of 1,236,000 in a few days, to support Pakistan’s efforts to curtail the pandemic. Further allocations from June onward will be confirmed later on. COVAX Facility aims to supply Pakistan with enough doses to vaccinate 20% of the population depending on availability. The 2.47 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 will be used to immunize about 1.24 million high-risk people of Pakistan against the Corona virus.
Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine was developed in collaboration with Oxford University and is manufactured by AstraZeneca and COVISHIELD, licensed to and manufactured by AstraZeneca-SKBioscience (AZ-SKBio) in South Korea. It has gone through rigorous processes to ensure safety and efficacy and has been given the greenlight by the World Health Organization to be rolled out globally.
Attending the handing over ceremony the Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan H. E. Mrs Androulla Kaminara said: ” We welcome the opportunity to concretely show our solidarity with the Government of Pakistan and support its efforts to fight the coronavirus through this important delivery of vaccines. We are proud to play our part in the global COVAX initiative, alongside our partners, as it helps to complement efforts where vaccines are needed. For the time being SOPs still need to be followed,”
To ensure timely and equal distribution of the vaccine EU and its Member States as Team Europe collaborated with Pakistan Government, WHO, GAVI, UNICEF as well as other international health organisations to address the Covid19 pandemic. EU supported COVAX facility has already delivered millions of vaccine doses to around 60 countries worldwide. The EU and its Member States are engaged simultaneously in vaccinating their population, producing and exporting vaccines on a large scale, and financially contributing to COVAX Facility with €2.2 billion.
COVAX, a global partnership, is co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO); Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), along with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The goal of the COVAX Facility is to ensure that safe, effective COVID-19 vaccines are rapidly available to all countries around the world regardless of income level, to help end the acute phase of the pandemic as quickly as possible. It aims to provide at least 2 billion doses of approved COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2021, enabling the protection of frontline health care and social workers, as well as other high-risk and vulnerable groups in what will be the largest immunization campaign in history.
EU and its Member States contributed over €2.2 billion, including €1 billion from the EU budget, for the COVAX Facility to help secure 1.3 billion doses of vaccination. This comes in addition to national contributions by EU Member States. One out of three vaccines delivered by COVAX has been possible through the Team Europe support.
The COVAX Facility covers 102 countries, including 61 vulnerable, and 4 billion people. The 61 vulnerable countries are receiving vaccines for free, while the remaining 41 have the chance to buy vaccines through COVAX at the lowest possible price.
The COVAX Facility is working to ensure that all countries participating in the facility, currently 190 including Pakistan have equitable access to at least 2 B doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2021.European Union remains committed to ensuring that everyone who needs a vaccine is able to receive it, independent of whether they live inside the EU or outside.
European Union has been on the forefront of the global efforts to contain the spread of the Covid19 pandemic. To assist Pakistan, the European Union directed €150 million (26 billion PKR) to address the short and medium term consequences of the epidemic in the country.