Asia - Pacific

Pakistan okays emergency use of China's Sinopharm jab

Move paves way for planned procurement of 1.1m doses next month

Aamir Latif   | 19.01.2021
Pakistan okays emergency use of China's Sinopharm jab FILE PHOTO

KARACHI, Pakistan 

Pakistan's drug regulator has approved China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in the country, paving the way for planned procurement of over a million doses next month. 

A spokesman for the health ministry, in a statement, said the drug regulatory authority has so far approved two coronavirus vaccines, including Sinopharm for emergency use.

The development follows Islamabad's approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for emergency use last week.

Dr. Faisal Sultan, special assistant to the prime minister on health, had told Anadolu Agency earlier this month Pakistan is expecting the first installment of 1.1 million doses from China’s Sinopharm by the first week of February.

However, he recently acknowledged that the Health Ministry has not placed an order for the vaccine.

Sultan, who effectively acts as the health minister, dispelled the impression that the government has delayed procurement, saying an order for the Sinopharm vaccine will be placed within the next few days.

Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar, who heads the country's anti-virus strategy, told reporters on Sunday that the government has allowed the private sector and the provinces to procure vaccines at their own after permission from the drug regulatory authority.

Pakistan, which has so far recorded 521,221coronavirus cases and 10,997 deaths, wants to launch a nationwide immunization drive by the second quarter of 2021, according to the officials.

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