Planning minister says 35 percent of the national eligible population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccines thus far
Only four of 24 “large” cities of Pakistan that had been directed to achieve a minimum target of partially vaccinating 40 percent of their residents against the novel coronavirus have missed the goal, Planning Minister Asad Umar announced on Wednesday.
“We had set a minimum target of 40 percent of 18-plus population being partially vaccinated by end-August for 24 large cities,” he said in a posting on Twitter. “Out of these 20 met the target. Only cities to miss the target were Hyderabad [in Sindh], Mardan, Nowshera [in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa] and Quetta [in Balochistan],” he added.
According to the National Command and Operation Center, Pakistan has thus far administered 55.2 million doses of various coronavirus vaccines. Of these, 42.7 million are partial vaccinations, while just 16.9 million people have been fully vaccinated.
In another posting on Twitter, Umar hailed the rapid pace of vaccination in recent days. “Single-day vaccination crosses one and a half million for the first time,” he said. “Yesterday, 1.59 million vaccinations were carried out. Both first dose and second dose vaccinations yesterday were highest ever with 1,071,000 and 519,000, respectively,” he added.
Pakistan has ramped up restrictions targeting unvaccinated individuals, with vaccination checks now required for entering shopping malls; for employees in both the private and public sector; and even for purchasing fuel in Punjab province. Sindh, similarly, has warned of blocking mobile SIMs of citizens who do not get vaccinated. In a press conference on Monday, Punjab Health Minister Dr. Yasmin Rashid said the public had no excuse to abstain from getting vaccinated, as the government had set up hundreds of vaccination centers and was even offering door-to-door vaccinations for citizens who could not travel to the centers. She stressed that vaccination was the only solution to the pandemic and to ending the cycle of lockdowns and business closures.
In a third tweet posted on Wednesday, the planning minister said the national vaccination statistics were promising. “35 percent of the national eligible population has received at least 1 dose,” he said. “Islamabad is at 69 percent, Azad Kashmir 51 percent, Gilgit-Baltistan 39 percent, Punjab 37 percent, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 35 percent; Sindh 32 percent and Balochistan 12 percent,” he said.
Pakistan is currently in the midst of a fourth wave of the coronavirus driven primarily by the Delta variant, which was originally identified in neighboring India.