China to donate additional 500,000 Covid-19 vaccines to Pakistan: Senior govt official

Gwadar Pro

Islamabad: Pakistan will get 500,000 additional jabs of the coronavirus vaccine from Iron Brother China this month, a senior government official said.

Earlier this year Beijing also provided a huge number of doses to Pakistan as the country fights the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking to journalists here, Parliamentary Secretary on Health Dr Nosheen Hamid said China will donate 500,000 additional drops this month. “China has already donated 1.5 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine to Pakistan,” she acknowledged.

Dr Hamid lamented that people were not getting themselves registered for the coronavirus vaccine jab. “As of now, a little over 2 million people have gotten themselves registered for the vaccine. Out of these, 650,000 are healthcare workers,” he pointed out.

She said the government will initiate a campaign that would encourage the masses to get vaccinated against the virus. Apart from the donated vaccine doses from China, the health secretary confirmed Pakistan will also receive the shipment of coronavirus vaccine doses from China that the country has purchased.

A few days ago, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) officials said that the company provided its safety and efficacy data to the expert committee and on its recommendations, the approval for another Chinese vaccine was given.

DRAP has also granted Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) to another Chinese vaccine, CoronaVac. The CoronaVac is a traditional vaccine, which can be stored at 2-8°C, which makes it ideal for countries like Pakistan where they don’t have ultra-cold chain refrigerators.

Moreover, Phase-III clinical trials of a triple-dose Chinese vaccine, developed by the Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical Company Ltd, are also underway in Lahore, Faisalabad, and other cities of Pakistan.

In addition, Pakistan will receive 15 million doses of the vaccine from Germany under the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility by May, according to Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who is on an official visit to Berlin.

COVAX is a global initiative that brings together governments and manufacturers to ensure eventual COVID-19 vaccines reach those in the greatest need, whoever they are and wherever they live.

Grappling with the virus’ third wave, Pakistan is currently vaccinating frontline health care workers and people older than 50 using China’s Sinopharm and CanSino.

Private hospitals in major cities have also started inoculation with Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine imported by a pharmaceutical company.

The South Asian country has also approved the emergency use of the UK’s AstraZeneca and China’s CoronaVac vaccines. Both vaccines, however, have yet to be administered. The country’s overall caseload has reached 729,920 with 15,619 deaths, according to the Health Ministry.