Islamabad: China will provide 0.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to the government of Pakistan by January 31, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Thursday.
“As goodwill gesture, China has pledged to handover the batch of vaccine free of cost,” the Foreign Minister told media here, following his telephonic conversation with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.
Qureshi said the Chinese Foreign Minister informed him that Pakistan could send the cargo plane to airlift the batch of vaccine.
Terming it a “welcoming development” amid coronavirus situation, he said, “This is a very good news that we have received from our friend China,” he said.
Qureshi said as Pakistan would be needing another 1.1 million doses for its frontline population, for which Chinese FM Wang Yi today agreed to handover the required vaccine by the end of February.
“In view of the strong strategic relations, China has considered Pakistan as the first country to be supplied with the COVID-19 vaccine,” he said.
The Foreign Minister said Pakistan had successfully fought the challenges of coronavirus and lauded the performance of National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) in this regard.
He mentioned that the trials of COVID-19 vaccines were effectively being carried out in the country, with an objective to launch production at later stages.
China will provide 500,000 doses of its Sinovac coronavirus vaccine to Pakistan by January 31, said Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, thanking “friend” Beijing for its generosity.
Talking to media in Islamabad on Thursday, FM Qureshi said that China has offered Pakistan to send an airplane and airlift the vaccine doses.
“Chinese foreign minister, in a telephonic conversation, has gifted half million virus doses to Pakistan and said that Islamabad can airlift the medicine,” he added.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that he told his Chinese counterpart that Pakistan requires 1.1 million doses of the vaccine in view of its large population, adding that the Chinese side also promised to make available the required quantity of the doses by the end of next month. China has also agreed to manufacture the Covid vaccine in Pakistan, he added.
“Always great to speak to my friend, His Excellency FM Wang Yi. With encouraging results of Chinese vaccine and our historic relationship, Pakistan has approved emergency use authorisation of SinoPharm. Indeed Flag of Pakistan greatly appreciates the 500,000 doses of the vaccine gifted by Flag of China,” he also wrote in a tweet.
China has played an instrumental role in Pakistan’s fight against COVID19 with technical assistance and medical expertise, said the foreign minister.
The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) on Jan.18 had authorised China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in Pakistan, making it the second vaccine to get local approval.
The permission was given in the DRAP registration board meeting after China’s Sinopharm had sought permission from Pakistan for the emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine in the country.
Pakistan, which is seeing rising numbers of coronavirus infections, also granted allowed to use Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine (AZD1222) in an emergency situation.