ISLAMABAD, March 17 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan on Wednesday received the second batch of COVID-19 vaccines donated by the Chinese government with a handover ceremony held at the Noor Khan Air Base near Pakistan's capital Islamabad.
Speaking on the occasion, Special Assistant to the Pakistani Prime Minister on Health Faisal Sultan thanked the Chinese government for once again providing the COVID-19 vaccine aid to Pakistan.
The newly-arrived Sinopharm vaccine doses are crucial to the further implementation of Pakistan's vaccination drive, he said, adding the efficacy and safety of the Sinopharm vaccine are very good.
The assistance from China shows the strong friendship between the two countries, he said.
Sultan said that Pakistan is currently facing a third wave of COVID-19, and he urged the public to continue following anti-pandemic measures including wearing a mask and keeping social distancing.
Xie Guoxiang, minister counsellor at the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan, said during the handover ceremony that the first batch of the COVID-19 vaccine aid provided by the Chinese government, which arrived in Pakistan on Feb. 1, helped kick off Pakistan's nationwide vaccination campaign, highlighting the friendship between the two countries.
Pakistan officially launched its National COVID Immunization Program across the country shortly after receiving the Chinese government-donated Sinopharm vaccines, with the frontline healthcare workers given the priority for inoculation.
On March 10, Pakistan began vaccinating its people aged 60 years and over against COVID-19 in the second phase of the nationwide vaccination drive.