KARACHI: Pakistan has so far inoculated only two million of its population with mix and match of mostly Chinese and a few thousand doses of Russian Sputnik V vaccine, which is less than one percent of the entire population of 220 million, officials said.
They however added that the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has allowed five vaccines including three Chinese, one Russian and a European for emergency inoculation of its adult population. Of the five, four vaccines – three Chinese and one Russian, have been mixed and matched to vaccinate two million people including healthcare workers, elderly and some other high risk groups. One of the vaccines allowed for emergency use, Covishield AstraZeneca has yet not been received by the authorities in Pakistan, officials of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHS,R&C) told The News.
“The three Chinese vaccines include double-dose Sinopharm, single dose Convidecia of CanSino Biologics Inc and CoronaVac by Sinovac Life Sciences, Beijing, China,” the NHS, R&C official told The News. Similarly, the DRAP’s registration board has also approved double-dose Russian Sputnik V vaccine, the official said while adding that European-Swedish company AstraZeneca’s Covishield has also been given emergency authorization, although the latter has not yet been acquired or received through COVAX.
According to Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on health Dr. Faisal Sultan, Pakistan has so far acquired 5,260,000 doses of different Chinese vaccines through donations from China and through bilateral purchase till April 2021, of which 0.5 million doses were received in January, 0.7 million in February, 1,060,000 doses in March and 3,000,000 doses arrived in Pakistan in the current month of April. Of these 5,260,000 vaccine doses, 4.7 million doses of double-dose Chinese vaccine Sinopharm, 60,000 doses of single-dose Chinese vaccine Convidecia while half a million doses of CoronaAac vaccine of Sinovac Life Sciences have also been received by Pakistan in these last four months.