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Pakistan

Pakistan has not placed any orders for the coronavirus vaccine yet: Report

  • Top federal government health authorities have confirmed that Pakistan has neither placed any final order yet to acquire the COVID-19 vaccine nor has any vaccine manufacturer accepted the country’s request for supply of the vaccine.
  • Health authorities in Pakistan are aiming to vaccinate around 100 million of its adult population or at least 70-80 million people.
Updated 15 Jan 2021

KARACHI: Amidst speculations about coronavirus trials in Pakistan, federal government health authorities have confirmed that Pakistan has neither placed any final order to acquire the COVID-19 vaccine, nor has any vaccine manufacturer accepted the country’s request as of yet.

As reported by The News on Friday, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan stated that "Although, we are striving hard to get the first batch of COVID-19 vaccine at the earliest for our frontline workers and others the final order has not yet been placed and accepted [by any vaccine manufacturer]".

He mentioned that as of yet, China's Sinopharm has submitted its data with Pakistan's Drug Regulatory Authority (DRAP), and the health authorities are engaged in negotiations for the supply of vaccines, but there has been no agreement with them currently.

“The second vaccine candidate is Cansino, whose trials are currently underway and they are a couple of weeks away from submitting their data to us. We are also interested in Russian vaccine Sputnik V, who have submitted some data but we have sought more data from them,” Sultan informed.

Shedding light upon the acquisition of Western-produced vaccines, the health official stated that negotiations are underway with AstraZeneca’s manufacturer, adding that "We are trying to get AstraZeneca vaccine both through the Covax facility and through direct procurement".

Health authorities in Pakistan are aiming to vaccinate around 100 million of its adult population, or at least 70-80 million people, a procedure that will take time and a "mix-and-match" approach to vaccine the targeted population.

The authorities stated that the Chinese vaccine was only found to be 50.4% effective in Brazilian clinical trials which shows that more data is required as using a 50% effective vaccine would be a total waste of efforts and resources.

“We need to assess the data of the vaccine’s efficacy ourselves before selecting it for the population. We would prefer a vaccine which has an emergency use authorization either from US FDA, European authorities or the World Health Organisation or its data shows at least 80-90 percent efficacy and safety,” according to a DRAP official.