Amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic, the vaccine aid provided by China to Pakistan is another testament to the traditional friendship between the two countries.
With over half a million cases and more than 11,000 deaths, Pakistan is struggling against the second wave of the deadly coronavirus.
The pandemic has affected people from all walks of life, especially teachers and students.
Zeenat Alvi, a teacher working in a private college in Rawalpindi, recalled that the pandemic was a "nightmare" as many in her college, including herself, were infected.
"The college was closed by the district administration and I was isolated at home. Those were the toughest days of my life," she said.
The country was forced to close educational institutions time and again. Recently, educational activities have been resumed to avoid academic loss of students.
To curb the spread of the virus, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has approved a vaccine developed by China’s Sinopharm for emergency use.
Alvi hoped that the doses of vaccine from China will give teachers and students immunity against the virus.
"I hope that Pakistan will benefit from it (Chinese vaccine aid). It is also great that Pakistan is in the process of procuring the vaccine from China, apart from the donation," Alvi said.
Pakistani officials said that China is supporting Pakistan again in the same way that it supported Pakistan during the earlier days of the pandemic by providing medical and protective equipment and sending medical experts.
"It was a very crucial time during the initial days of the disease outbreak in March-April last year. We did not have masks, personal protective equipment, ventilators and other necessary equipment. China gave us all until we started producing most of the things at home," Pakistan’s Parliamentary Secretary on National Health Services Regulations and Coordination Nausheen Hamid told.
"By giving vaccine support at the right time, China has given a big relief to the Pakistani government," she said, adding the timely support is another testament to the two countries’ friendship.
Bilal Ahamd, a public health officer from the country’s Panacea Healthcare System and Research Center, said that China is the first to come to Pakistan’s rescue, which will enhance their friendship.
Healthcare workers will be vaccinated in the first phase and people over 65 years old will get vaccines later. In the third phase, the rest of the public will get the vaccine shots, according to the country’s National Command and Operation Center, the body monitoring and dealing with COVID-19 related issues in the country.
Hamid said that the DRAP approved the emergence use of Sinopharm’s vaccine for its effectiveness against the virus, adding that the vaccine is well-performed in preventing the disease and it is the reason why it gains reputation around the world.
"We will also be able to procure the vaccine from China in the coming days, but the emergency need of the country will be fulfilled by the Chinese assistance,"said the official.