Pakistan sends special flight to China to transport 500,000 COVID-19 vaccines
Published: Jan 31, 2021 07:08 PM

Sinopharm's COVID-19 vaccine. Photo: VCG

Pakistan has sent a special flight to Beijing to transport 500,000 China-made COVID-19 vaccines.

"A special flight from Pakistan will be carrying the 500,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses from Beijing today. This makes Pakistan the first country to which China has provided vaccines as overseas assistance, in keeping with the bilateral All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership. The donation of vaccines was announced by State Councilor Wang Yi to his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi in a telephone call last week. 

"We look forward to working with our Chinese friends to expand the vaccine rollout in Pakistan and collectively work together in controlling and eliminating this pandemic," the Pakistan Embassy in China told the Global Times on Sunday.

During the phone call between State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the latter's request, Wang said that the Chinese government has decided to assist the Pakistani side on vaccines and actively coordinated with Chinese enterprises to accelerate the export of vaccines to Pakistan, as showed on the website of the Foreign Ministry.

The two Foreign Ministers agreed to enhance communication and coordination to further solidify Pakistan-China ties.

The National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) of Pakistan said in a statement on Saturday that the country will send a plane to Beijing on Sunday to carry back the first tranche of vaccines, which will be provided to frontline health workers and elderly people in the first phase.

The vaccines will be offered to 250,000 people, with everyone receiving two doses, per NCOC.

Two foreign COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for emergency use in Pakistan so far, including the vaccine manufactured by Chinese enterprise Sinopharm.