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Pakistan Launches Second Vaccination Phase For General Public

A man receives the Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine from a healthcare worker at a vaccination center in Karachi on March 10.

Pakistan has kicked off the second phase of its COVID-19 vaccination campaign, opening it to the general public with priority for people over 60.

"The most-senior citizens will be the first ones to receive the doses of COVID-19 vaccine," Health Minister Faisal Sultan said on March 10. "We will work our way down in the coming days."

Pakistan Prioritizes People Over 60 In Second COVID-19 Vaccination Phase
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Pakistan has been grappling with a high degree of vaccination hesitancy among its 220 million people, even among health workers.

According to a survey released last week, nearly half of healthcare workers had concerns over China's Sinopharm vaccine, which is the only jab available in Pakistan for the time being.

Pakistan distributed 504,400 Sinopharm vaccine doses to provincial authorities last month and 230,000 front-line health workers have already taken a shot, Sultan said.

The country has recorded 595,239 coronavirus cases and more than 13,000 deaths, with 1,786 infections and 43 deaths reported in the last 24 hours.

Pakistan has not secured any supplies from vaccine manufacturers and is largely depending on the GAVI/WHO COVAX initiative for poorer nations and donations from its ally China.

Under the initiative, Pakistan was likely to receive 17 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine by end of June, Sultan told GEO television.

Pakistan has opened up almost all sectors of society but on March 10 reversed a decision to allow large indoor gatherings.

Schools will also be closed again for two weeks from March 15, the government said.

With reporting by GEO TV and Reuters
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