Another 0.5 million vaccine doses arrive in Pakistan

Another 0.5 million vaccine doses arrive in Pakistan

A medical worker fills a syringe with a dose of Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccine at Isolation Hospital and Infections Treatment Center in Islamabad. — Online/File

A Pakistan Air Force plane carrying 500,000 Chinese-based company SinoVac’s vaccine doses has landed at the Nur Khan Airbase in Islamabad, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) announced Thursday.

The NCOC, in a statement, said Pakistan has paid for the vaccine doses, clarifying that it was not via donation from China.

The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), earlier this month, had granted emergency authorisation to the SinoVac’s vaccine —CoronaVac.

This was the fifth coronavirus vaccine and the third Chinese vaccine to be used in Pakistan. Earlier, Pakistan had granted the authorisation to China’s two-dose Sinopharm and single-dose Convidecia vaccine developed by the Cansino Biologicals. UK’s AstraZeneca and Russian Sputnik V vaccines have also been approved by the DRAP.

The CoronaVac vaccine, despite its low efficacy rate, was allowed by the health authorities to counter the third wave of the pandemic in Pakistan.

In this regard, an official of the Drug Regulatory Authority said: “DRAP’s registration board in its 304th meeting … gave Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) to CoronaVac vaccine, developed by the Sinovac Life Sciences Company, based in Beijing, China.”

Meanwhile, Pakistan has prepared to acquire at least 100,000 doses of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine of Pfizer BioNTech through COVAX by June this year, The News had reported.

For preparation beforehand, the country has already procured and installed ultra cold chain (UCC) refrigerators in Islamabad and all the federating units for storage of the vaccine, officials said.

Confirming the development, an official of the National Health Services, Regulations, and Coordination had said: “COVAX has assured us of providing at least 100,000 doses of mRNA vaccine of Pfizer BioNTech by June this year. On their assurance, we have acquired and installed 23 UCC refrigerators throughout Pakistan.”

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