US Mission chief inaugurates anti-COVID drive for children
The U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) Andrew Schofer and Sindh Minister of Health Dr. Azra Fazal Pechuho led the launch of a pediatric COVID-19 vaccination campaign using vaccines donated by the U.S. government to the people of Pakistan.
The campaign’s first phase will administer 16 million doses of safe, effective Pfizer vaccines, provided by the U.S. government, to children aged 5-11 in Pakistan. USAID is providing $20 million to operationalize this campaign. In Sindh, nearly 5 million doses will be provided to children in eight districts, ensuring coverage for about 2.5 million children. The Sindh government will implement this campaign at schools, madrassas, and informal education institutions and via mobile vaccination teams to reach street children.
Sindh Secretary of Health Mr. Zufikar Shah, Director General of Health Services Dr. Muhammad Juman Bahoto, and other Sindh Health Department officials were also in attendance at this launch event. DCM Schofer remarked, “I am thrilled to note that Sindh has fully vaccinated more than 95% of residents aged 12 years and older and is now moving to vaccinated children who are 5-11 years old using vaccines donated by the U.S. government to the people of Pakistan. The United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), continues to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Sindh Health Department and the Pakistani people in their fight against COVID-19.”
Since the start of the pandemic, the United States has committed to donate more than 77 million vaccine doses to Pakistan, including 16 million pediatric vaccine doses. Through local partners, USAID has helped to generate public demand to improve vaccine coverage across the province. Recently, the United States also provided four mobile testing labs to Pakistan’s National Institute of Health to strengthen Pakistan’s ability to diagnose pathogens – including COVID-19 – in remote, underserved areas.
The U.S. government and the Government of Pakistan have partnered to track infectious diseases, improve infrastructure and supply chain logistics, and build capacity to make the country’s health systems more responsive.
The U.S. Government, through USAID, has worked hand in hand with the Sindh Provincial Disease Surveillance and Response Unit to link with the province’s 30 new District Disease Surveillance and Response Units to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. With USAID’s support, the Sindh Government established a COVID-19 Command & Control Center that has now expanded to lead on implementing strategic and policy decisions to prevent, detect, and control 34 notifiable infectious diseases – including COVID-19 – in Sindh.
USAID’s Integrated Health Systems Strengthening and Service Delivery activity is supporting the Sindh Health Department to improve COVID-19 vaccination coverage in the province. Since January 2022, USAID has supported the Sindh government to administer nearly 5 million doses of vaccine in 10 districts.