Punjab is likely to get a genome sequencing machine to detect the newfound variants of the Covid-19 vaccine. Chief Minister of Punjab, Usman Buzdar, has reportedly approved funds worth 50 million for Punjab’s health department. The approved amount will enable the health department to buy the sequencing machine.
“Punjab will be the first province to buy a genome sequencing machine,” stated the Secretary of the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department, Capt (r) Muhammad Usman Younis.
Currently, Pakistan’s only genome sequencing machine is in Islamabad at the National Institute of Health.
The newfound variants of Covid-19 that have been detected in England, South Africa, and Brazil are reportedly more transmissible, hence, more dangerous. The machine will enable the provincial government to detect the new variant as well as to take appropriate measures to curb it from spreading further.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised all the countries to improve their genome sequencing technology to halt the new variants from spreading.
On 27th January, a comprehensive Covid-19 vaccination plan was revealed by the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC). Asad Umar, the Minister for Planning and Development took to Twitter to announce that the process of vaccine administration will begin next week, and the frontline workers will be the first ones to get the vaccine.
He wrote “The system for vaccination is in place. Hundreds of vaccination centers in the country will be administering the covid vaccine. InshaAllah the vaccination of frontline workers will start next week.”
The system for vaccination is in place. Hundreds of vaccination centres in the country will be administering covid vaccine. Inshallah the vaccination of front line health workers will start next week. https://t.co/aRG07cMKgv
— Asad Umar (@Asad_Umar) January 27, 2021
Last week, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi announced that China will provide half a million doses of its Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine as a gift to Pakistan by the end of this month.
“Always great to speak to my friend, His Excellency FM Wang Yi… Pakistan greatly appreciates the 500,000 doses of the vaccine gifted by China,” he said in a tweet.
Qureshi added that China has played an instrumental role in Pakistan’s fight against COVID-19 with “technical assistance and medical expertise.”
Always great to speak to my friend, His Excellency FM Wang Yi. With encouraging results of Chinese vaccine and our historic relationship, Pakistan has approved emergency use authorisation of SinoPharm. Indeed 🇵🇰 greatly appreciates the 500,000 doses of the vaccine gifted by 🇨🇳.
— Shah Mahmood Qureshi (@SMQureshiPTI) January 21, 2021
In a separate statement, the foreign minister said his Chinese counterpart has assured that another 1.1 million doses will arrive in Pakistan in February.
The country’s drug regulatory authority has also approved the Chinese vaccine for emergency use, two days after the vaccine developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca received a similar authorization.
Pakistan has been engaging with a number of vaccine makers, according to the adviser of health Faisal Sultan. The federal government has also allowed the private sector and the provinces to procure vaccines on their own, subject to relevant approvals.