Pakistan government on Monday gave approval to China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, couple of days after the University of Oxford’s AstraZeneca vaccine received similar approval.
The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has announced that the vaccine produced by China National Pharma Group (SinoPharm) has received an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Pakistan’s Ministry of Health said the country is in talks with various vaccine manufacturers.
“Two COVID-19 EUA vaccines were provided under certain conditions,” a DRAP spokesman said, adding that both vaccines have been evaluated for their safety and quality. The DRAP spokesperson said the vaccine usage will be reviewed quarterly to provide additional data on safety, efficacy and quality.
PM Special Adviser on Health Faisal Sultan said over the weekend that Pakistan is working with a number of vaccine manufacturers, adding that the country could receive “tens of millions” of vaccine doses under an agreement with China’s Cansino Biologics.
The manufacturer of the Ad5-nCoV COVID-19 vaccine is approaching the end of the third phase of clinical trials in Pakistan. Sultan said preliminary results of the Cansino vaccine could appear by mid-February. However, Pakistan has yet to place a purchase order for the vaccine.
The minister said Pakistan plans to cover vaccines free of charge for most of the population, adding that private companies may also be allowed to import and sell vaccines as soon as the licensed company has supplies.
Pakistan reported 1,920 new coronavirus cases and 46 deaths on Monday, bringing the total to more than 521,212 and close to 11,000 deaths.
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