Pakistan allows AstraZeneca COVID-19 shot for under 40s to help its expatriates
Pakistan has lifted a rule barring the use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine for people below 40 years old, in a bid to help inoculate people who need to travel for education or jobs abroad, a health official said.
Pakistan, which relies heavily on remittances from its expatriate workers in Saudi Arabia, has primarily used Chinese vaccines - Sinopharm, CanSinoBio and Sinovac - in its inoculation drive and, till now, only used AstraZeneca for those above 40.
Read the latest updates in our dedicated coronavirus section.
The Saudi authorities have not approved the Chinese shots, so people with only those vaccinations still need to quarantine, which is unaffordable for many, Faisal Sultan, a health adviser to the prime minister, said.
“From today, we have lifted the restriction for use of AstraZeneca for below 40 years,” Sultan told private news channel Geo television on Tuesday.
For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.
Saudi Arabia has approved four COVID-19 vaccines for arrivals wanting to avoid quarantine, namely AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson.
Pakistan has received 1.2 million doses of AstraZeneca under the COVAX facility.
Sultan said the government was using diplomatic channels to see if Saudi Arabia would approve Chinese vaccines in future.
As of June 11, 1.3 percent of Pakistan’s 220 million people had been fully vaccinated and 3.8 percent had received at least one dose, mostly Sinopharm or Sinovac, official figures show.
Saudi Arabia is the largest source of foreign remittances to Pakistan, which depends on these funds to support its current account given the country’s yawning trade deficit.
In the current financial year, Pakistan received $7 billion in remittances from Saudi Arabia, making up more than a quarter of overall remittances.
Pakistan starts vaccinating people 60 or older against COVID-19
Pakistan offers COVID-19 vaccine to all adults
UAE suspends entry for travelers from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal
No severe side effects of AstraZeneca dose reported in Saudi Arabia: Health AuthorityThere have been no reports of severe complications linked to the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine in Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom’s Public Health ... Coronavirus
Pakistan offers COVID-19 vaccine to all adultsPakistan is offering jabs to its entire adult population in hopes of boosting COVID-19 vaccination rates, with only 5 percent of the population ... Coronavirus
Pakistan to slash inbound international flights to curb COVID-19 casesPakistan plans to reduce the number of inbound international flights to 20 percent of current numbers to curb rising COVID-19 cases, the official body ... Coronavirus
Kuwait suspends travel from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka to contain COVIDKuwait has suspended flights, and barred entry to travellers, from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka until further notice, state news agency ... Coronavirus