Pakistan approves emergency use of another Chinese Covid-19 vaccine

Health official says approval given after 'successful' trials of vaccine

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Pakistan’s drug regulator has approved another Chinese COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in the country, a top health official said on Saturday.

Dr. Faisal Sultan, the special assistant to the prime minister on health, told Anadolu Agency that Islamabad has given authorization of the emergency use of single-dose CanSino vaccine.

The approval, he said, has been given after a “successful” phase-three trials of the vaccine in the country.

Read more: Pakistan to get 17.2mn doses of COVID-19 vaccine, confirms Covax

Pakistan is the second country after Mexico to have authorized the emergency use of the CanSino vaccine. Islamabad has already authorized the emergency use of China’s Sinopharm, Oxford-AstraZeneca, and Russia’s Sputnik vaccine.

Earlier this month, Pakistan received 500,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine as a “gift” from China. Another 1.1 million pre-ordered doses are expected later this month.

The South Asian country of over 200 million people has already begun the much-awaited vaccination campaign. In the first phase, frontline health workers and those above 65 years of age are being inoculated.

Last month, the government announced securing 17 million doses of the vaccine developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca through the WHO-led COVAX initiative. The country has so far registered 560,363 coronavirus cases, including 12,218 deaths.

Will politicians, generals and judges be vaccinated on priority basis?

Frontline healthcare professionals, elderly people, and teachers, not politicians, generals, and judges, will be vaccinated on a priority basis, clarified Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan. The Senate was assured on Friday that no elite group would be prioritized for Covid-19 vaccination.

The minister explained that registration for vaccination would be made through an online portal — the National Immunisation Management System (NIMS). The minister also said that Pakistan would receive the first consignment of 500,000 Covid-19 vaccines from China on Sunday.

Read more: Pakistan receives its first batch of Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine

He said the cabinet had approved agreements worth $1.5 billion with the World Bank and Asian Development Bank for purchase of vaccines, adding that talks were under way with different companies and procurement of the vaccine would start by the end of February.

Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk