Pakistan says it has administered 155 million COVID-19 vaccine doses as of Friday, fully vaccinating 70 million people, or 30% of the country’s total population, since launching the inoculation drive in February.
The South Asian nation of about 220 million reported its first case in early 2020 and since then the pandemic has infected about 1.3 million people and killed nearly 29,000 people, keeping the situation largely under control.
“Of the total eligible population [age 12 and above], 46% is fully vaccinated and 63% has received at least one dose,” Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar who heads the National Command and Operation Center that oversees Pakistan’s pandemic response, tweeted.
The government had set the target in May and achieved it “with the help of countless workers, citizens and leadership across the country,” tweeted Faisal Sultan, the special assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan on national health services.
Faisal advised Pakistanis to continue to use masks, avoid crowded places and ensure social distancing in the wake of rising cases of infection from the omicron variant.
Officials said Pakistan has received a total of 247 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to date. The government has purchased 157 million while 78 million arrived through the COVAX dose-sharing program, including 32.6 million donated by the United States, and nearly 9 million donated from China.
The United Nations and other global partners have acknowledged Pakistan’s effective response to the pandemic, citing the country’s success in vaccinating children against polio and other transmittable diseases through mass immunization campaigns.
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the federal health ministry adapted its facilities to vaccinate adults, who make up about half of Pakistan’s population, according to a recent UNICEF statement.