ISLAMABAD: The Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, said on Friday that people who have received both doses of the COVID vaccine have a seven-fold lower risk of contracting the virus than those who have not been vaccinated. During a press conference in Islamabad with Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr Faisal Sultan, Asad Umar said that people who have received the first dose of the vaccine have a four-fold lower risk of contracting the disease than those who have not. Asad, who is also the Chairman of the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), urged people to get vaccinated against the pandemic, saying it was the only way to eradicate the disease. The minister said that between February 3, 2021, when vaccinations began, and July 1, 2017, 17.7 million people received vaccines, with 6.2 million receiving both jabs. During that time, he said, 490,000 cases of COVID-19 were reported, accounting for 0.3 percent of the country’s adult population, which is estimated to be around 125 million people. According to him, 0.08 percent of those who received the first dose were infected with the virus, this makes about 9,917 cases. Whereas 0.04 percent, or 5500 people who received the full vaccination, were infected. Asad Umar explained, this means that one out of every 333 Pakistani citizens was infected, but among those who received the first dose, only one out of 1250 people was reported positive, while amongst those who were fully vaccinated, only one out of 2500 people was reported COVID positive. He claimed that the data showed that health experts, doctors, and scientists were not expressing their views based on their personal beliefs, but rather on facts and the actual results of vaccinations in Pakistan. Even among those who had been vaccinated but became infected, he said, the severity of the disease was far lower than among those who had not been vaccinated. He claimed that the Indian variant had the greatest impact on the entire region, but the risk could be reduced if people were vaccinated. The international community has praised Pakistan’s response to the pandemic; therefore, to maintain this positive image, all Pakistanis are urged to get vaccinated and follow pandemic SOPs, particularly during the Eid holidays. He expressed satisfaction with the country’s rising vaccination trend, saying that the number of people receiving vaccines has remained over 500,000 for the past four days. However, he stated that this was insufficient because the government had sufficient vaccine supplies and that more people should be vaccinated.