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Homeland Security

US Sending Millions of COVID-19 Vaccine Doses to Pakistan

By Patsy Widakuswara September 01, 2021

As Pakistan deals with a surge in COVID-19 cases due to the delta variant, the United States will begin moving 4 million doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to the country on Thursday, a White House spokesperson told VOA.

The 4,149,990 doses, sent through COVAX, the global vaccine-sharing initiative co-led by Gavi (the Vaccine Alliance), the WHO (World Health Organization) and CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness), are in addition to the more than 9.2 million doses of Moderna and Pfizer vaccine already donated to Pakistan since June.

"As President Biden has said: the United States is committed to bringing the same urgency to international vaccination efforts that we have demonstrated at home," the spokesperson stated in an email. "We are working to get as many safe and effective vaccines to as many people around the world as fast as possible."

The Pakistani government said it has administered 56.7 million doses to its people, but health officials say millions of people in the country are unwilling to receive a shot, despite a surge in new infections and sufficient vaccine supplies. Pakistan has imposed lockdowns several times since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

The country's national vaccination campaign has largely relied on Chinese vaccines, but the U.S. donations are helping officials overcome critical shortages of Western-developed anti-coronavirus shots.

One Million doses of Sputnik V vaccines also arrived in Pakistan Wednesday, according to a tweet by Sputnik V. Despite concerns about the Russian vaccine, Dr Faisal Sultan, special assistant to Pakistan's prime minister, has told VOA Urdu that Pakistan was satisfied with the results of the Russian vaccine. The vaccine is being imported and sold by the private sector after the government's approval.

Pakistan government data show the country has had 1,163,688 cases, 93,901of them active. The country has had close to 26,000 COVID-19-related deaths and is dealing with rampant infections from the delta variant.

Humanitarian organizations have been pushing for wealthy countries to donate more doses.

"The quickest way to end the pandemic is to get more vaccines to more people, both at home and abroad," Sean Simmons, of the ONE Campaign, told VOA.

"We know the U.S. and other wealthy countries have the capacity to share more doses, and donations like this one are a critical step towards ramping up vaccine coverage everywhere," said Simmons. "As the delta variant and other emerging variants have painfully shown us, we're all in this fight together, and the world cannot afford to leave anyone behind."

Ayesha Tanzeem in Islamabad and Aisha Khalid in Washington contributed to this report.



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