Thursday, February 25, 2021

Pakistan likely to need Covid-19 jabs from arch-rival India

Almost 90% of vaccines administered in Pakistan already come from India.

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Tidak perlu surat polis rentas negeri hantar anak ke asrama

Ibu bapa hanya perlu menunjukkan surat yang dikeluarkan pihak sekolah semasa melalui sekatan jalan raya.

No police permit needed to cross borders for school

Parents only need to show letters issued by the schools at police roadblocks.

Kes baru Covid-19 jatuh bawah 2,000

12 lagi kematian dicatatkan.

New cases drop below 2,000 mark

12 more deaths reported.

MIC leader questions ‘fickle-minded’ Umno chiefs

MIC deputy president M Saravanan says the party will only decide based on discussions in Barisan Nasional.

Pakistan plans to launch its immunisation programme against Covid-19 next week, starting with health workers getting shots of a free China-made vaccine.

Next door, arch-rival India began one of the world’s biggest inoculation drives against the disease in mid-January.

India makes about 60% of global vaccines and has begun shipping millions of free doses to friendly neighbours in the region, in what is being described as “vaccine diplomacy”. Many believe this is a counter to growing Chinese influence in the region.

Pakistan is not a recipient. The two nuclear-armed rivals have fought three wars since gaining independence from Britain in 1947. They came to the brink of war again in 2019 over the disputed territory of Kashmir and the situation there is still tense.

Pakistan plans to inoculate at least 70% of its 220 million people against Covid free of cost. Regulators have given emergency use approval for three candidates – the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine made in India, the China-made Sinopharm and Russian-developed Sputnik V.

Almost 90% of vaccines administered in Pakistan come from India. Most of these are distributed through Pakistan’s state-funded immunisation programme which targets 14 million new-borns and pregnant women every year. The children are given jabs against 10 diseases while mothers are inoculated against tetanus.

But could politics interfere in India’s distribution of its Covid-19 vaccines when much of the underdeveloped world worries whether they will receive vaccines any time soon?

“India already has got so many vaccine orders from all over the world. We have cordial relations with vaccine makers across the border. We will try our best to get supplies, but it will take time,” Usman Ghani of Sindh Medical Stores, a leading Karachi-based importer of vaccines told the BBC.

An Indian foreign ministry spokesman has said he was not “aware of any request for India-made vaccines” from Pakistan.

Ghani said, “We will harm ourselves if we don’t cooperate on vaccines.”

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