ISLAMABAD: After the arrival of 2.8 million doses of Oxford AstraZeneca Covid-19 by March 2, the government has decided to start vaccination of the elderly aged over 65. The vaccination drive will start in the first week of March. PM’s aide on health Dr Faisal Sultan announced on Thursday that the drive will also include health workers as a priority. Pakistan will receive the vaccine through the COVAX facility, a global alliance to ensure the equal distribution and access of the vaccine to developing countries. Dr Sultan said that while the process of vaccination could not be started in 110 countries, Pakistan was among those 65 countries where vaccination has begun. “We have decided to vaccinate frontline HCWs because they are the most vulnerable to the virus as they cannot maintain social distancing due to nature of their job and 130 of them have already sacrificed their lives. So far over 52,000 HCWs have been vaccinated. We were getting complaints that HCWs had to wait at AVCs so it has been decided that they can get themselves vaccinated from any AVC and there will be no delays,” he added. Right now only frontline health workers are being immunised. They are being given the Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccine, which is a two-dose vaccine with an efficacy of 78.6%. The government has not advised this vaccine for people above 65 years. This doesn’t mean the vaccine is not safe or effective, Dr Sultan clarified. Clinical trials did not include a sufficient number of elderly people which makes it difficult to predict the efficacy in this demographic, he added.