The United States delivered a batch of 2.5 million doses of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine to Pakistan Friday as part of the 80 million doses Washington is donating to countries around the world.
The U.S. embassy in Islamabad explained in a statement that the vaccine doses are being delivered in partnership with the United Nations-backed COVAX global initiative, UNICEF and the Pakistani government.
“These vaccines will save lives and help Pakistan emerge from this crisis, which has devastated so many families and communities in both our countries,” said Embassy Chargé d’affaires Angela Aggeler. “A vaccinated public will also help bring back the economic and social interactions we all welcome.”
The embassy noted that Washington already has delivered nearly $50 million in COVID assistance “through our partnership” with Islamabad.
The United States has pledged $4 billion to support COVAX with the purchase and delivery of coronavirus vaccines to 92 low- and middle-income countries.
“This contribution is supporting equitable access to vaccines for the world’s most vulnerable and at-risk populations, including frontline health care workers,” said the U.S. statement.
It noted Pakistan received 1.2 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine as part of the COVAX effort.
Islamabad hailed the U.S. donation.
“These vaccines will give boost to ongoing vaccination drive in Pakistan. Deeply appreciate continued support by the US in our fight against the pandemic,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri.
Friday’s U.S. vaccine shipment arrived as Pakistan’s national inoculation campaign, which largely relies on Chinese vaccines, faces critical shortages of Western-developed anti-coronavirus shots.
The supply crisis prompted hundreds of expatriate workers to rally outside a mass vaccination center in Islamabad this week, demanding mandatory European or U.S. vaccinations, such as AstraZenca or Pfizer, so they can resume working abroad.
The angry protesters also stormed the facility and inflicted damage before authorities temporarily shut it down.
The coronavirus situation in Pakistan remains largely under control, infecting at least 960,000 people and killing more than 22,000 of them since the outbreak in early 2020.
Authorities reported Friday they had documented nearly 1,300 new infections and 24 deaths in the last 24 hours, marking a consistent decline in nationwide cases.