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Pakistan Achieves COVID-19 Vaccination Target for 2021

by Newsweek Pakistan
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Planning minister says 46 percent of the country’s population has been fully inoculated against the coronavirus

Planning Minister Asad Umar on Friday announced that Pakistan had achieved its 2021 target of fully vaccinating 70 million people against COVID-19, noting that 46 percent of the country’s eligible population had been fully inoculated.

“Amongst the federating units, Islamabad leads with 77% fully vaccinated,” he said in a posting on Twitter. “Punjab is at 51%, Gilgit-Baltistan 46%, Pakistan-administered Kashmir 45%, Balochistan 42%, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 41%, and Sindh at 37%. Of the total eligible population, 46% is fully vaccinated and 63% has received at least one dose,” he added.

He recalled that the government had set a target of vaccinating 70 million people by the end of 2021, adding that it had been achieved thanks to a massive vaccination drive. “To make this massive vaccination drive possible, the federal government has procured vaccines worth nearly Rs. 250 billion,” he said. “100 percent of vaccine procurement [was] done by the federal government, which has provided free vaccines to all citizens regardless of which province they live in,” he added.

Umar, who also heads the National Command and Operation Center overseeing the country’s response to the pandemic, thanked federal and provincial government administrators, as well as all health teams for their tireless efforts in achieving the target. “Due to their tireless efforts, a target was achieved that appeared impossible,” he said.

According to the NCOC, 156,623,021 total doses of vaccines have been administered across Pakistan thus far. Apart from the 70.5 million fully vaccinated individuals, 96.98 million people have been partially vaccinated.

The vaccination milestone comes amidst growing calls from health officials for all unvaccinated people to get inoculated as soon as possible to avoid the adverse impact of the Omicron variant, which is slowly causing an increase in new cases in Pakistan. Authorities have warned that the country might face a fifth wave of the pandemic, driven by Omicron, in mid-January or early February.

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