Vaccination for 19 and above to start from today

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-Punjab decides to vaccinate province-wide teachers
-65 more deaths, 2,724 new cases reported across country

By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai

ISLAMABAD: Federal Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Minister Asad Umar announced on Wednesday that the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) had decided to start the registration of persons aged 19 and above for vaccination against the coronavirus.
He tweeted that the registration would start from Thursday (today).
“So now registration will be open for the entire national population which is approved by health experts for Covid vaccination,” the minister said in the tweet.
A day earlier, the government announced it had started production of China’s single-dose CanSino vaccine at the National Institute of Health (NIH).
A tweet by the government’s official account said three million doses of the vaccine would be produced per month to “significantly reduce Pakistan’s dependence on importing vaccines from other countries”.
Meanwhile, Punjab government has decided to vaccinate teachers across the province against COVID-19 on a priority basis as educational institutes are allowed to open in areas witnessing a positivity ratio of less than five percent under an NCOC directive.
According to details, during the first phase of the vaccination process, 17,000 teachers in Lahore will be vaccinated on a priority basis from May 28. In the next phase, the vaccination process will be spread to other parts of the province.
120,000 doses ready for launch within a week
With 120,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine having been packed at NIH, the relevant authorities are considering reverting back to using the name CanSinoBio after initially printing PakVac on the first batch.
An official of the NIH said 120,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine had been packed and hopefully a launching ceremony would be held by the end of the current month. “Though the name PakVac was used for the first batch, there has been a change of mind and the vaccine would be called CanSinoBio as the Chinese are sensitive about the names of their products,” he said.
“The test trial of the first batch has been completed, which included stability test, safety test, sterility test and spike protein test. Overall 120,000 doses have been prepared and a tentative date for the launching ceremony is May 30,” the NIH official said. CanSino was the first Chinese vaccine to have undergone clinical trial in Pakistan and was administered to around 18,000 people. Initially, the vaccine was brought to the country, but later it was decided that concentrate of the vaccine would be shifted here and packed in the NIH.
The machinery was arranged, staff trained and finally the first batch was packed, which passed the stability test. The official said PakVac was used on the initial batch of 500 doses but now it was being considered to use the name CanSinoBio on the remaining vaccine batches. “The test trial of the first batch has been completed, which included stability test, safety test, sterility test and spike protein test. Overall 120,000 doses have been prepared and a tentative date for the launching ceremony is May 30,” the NIH official said.
New COVID deaths, infections: As many as 2,724 new cases of the coronavirus were detected across the country in the last 24 hours, taking the national tally of infections to 908,576.
According to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) data, 65 more people died of the infection, raising the death toll to 20,465.
A total of 59,076 samples were tested, out of which 2,724 turned out to be positive. The positivity ratio of new infections was recorded at 4.62%, the NCOC said.
The number of people recuperating from the infection climbed to 827,843 with 4,686 more recovering in the previous 24 hours.
Thus far, Punjab has reported 336,315 infections, Sindh 311,766, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 130,644, Islamabad 80,662, Balochistan 24,733, Azad Jammu and Kashmir 18,940 and Gilgit Baltistan 5,516.