Pakistan starts formulating, packing Chinese vaccines

Islamabad: Pakistan’s National Institute of Health (NIH) has said that it had begun work on formulating and packing the single-dose Chinese vaccine CanSino Bio.

Chinese experts are also present in Islamabad to help in the preparation of the vaccine. The NIH has started the venture in collaboration with the Chinese company.

A spokesperson for the NIH said it would be able to prepare 100,000 doses of the vaccine by the end of May. He said the raw material was imported to Pakistan from China last night.

“The raw material for the vaccine’s production has been imported from China. The work on formulating and packing the vaccine has begun. The locally packed vaccine will be available by the end of the current month,” he added.

The spokesperson said raw material was enough to produce 120,000 doses of the CanSino Bio vaccines.

The NIH had earlier announced that Pakistan would start packaging the vaccine in May. The NIH had said the arrangements to prepare CanSino Bio’s coronavirus vaccine were already completed, adding that they were waiting for the raw material of the vaccine to arrive in Pakistan.

On Thursday, the first batch of China’s CanSino COVID-19 vaccines that the Pakistani government purchased in bulk  from CanSino Biologics Inc. arrived in Pakistan.

On Monday, Special Assistant to the Pakistani Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan said that the local production of the single-dose CanSino COVID-19 vaccine was about to commence in the country to facilitate its vaccination drive.

The start of the local production of the CanSino vaccine will gradually make Pakistan largely self-sufficient in meeting its COVID-19 vaccine needs, he said.

In late March, the first batch of finished CanSino COVID-19 vaccines that the Pakistani government purchased from China arrived in Islamabad.

The third phase trials of the CanSino vaccine has already been conducted in Pakistan and it is the second Chinese COVID-19 vaccine that Pakistan approved for emergency use in the country.

Currently, Pakistan is facing a third wave of COVID-19 and the positivity rate has seen a sharp rise, forcing the Pakistani authorities to continue tightening the anti-pandemic measures and facilitating the vaccination drive.

A total of 4,198 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Pakistan during the last 24 hours, taking the tally to 845,833, out of which 18,537 died and 743,124 recovered, according to the data released by the country’s health ministry on Thursday.

Director General Health Rana Safdar said on Thursday afternoon that anti Covid vaccines were available in sufficient quantity in the country.

Briefing journalists here, he said the government was taking all possible steps to acquire more vaccine from all possible sources.

The DG Health said a mechanism has been developed to ensure that only quality vaccine is administered to the people. He said no compromise will be made on the quality of the vaccine.

Rana Safdar asked the people aged over 40 to get themselves registered for the vaccination. He said vaccination centers are open even after Iftari (fast breaking time) from 8 pm to 12 midnight.

Chief Executive Officer Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) Asim Rauf said the private sector was also being encouraged to import the vaccine. He said under a mechanism the private hospitals can also import vaccine for the vaccination of their employees.