Pakistan to purchase coronavirus vaccine from Chinese company
by Shafqat Ali
ISLAMABAD, Jan.1 (Gwadar Pro) - Pakistan has decided to buy coronavirus vaccine from Chinese company Sinopharm, a senior minister said on Thursday evening.
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry said that initially 1.2 million doses of the vaccine will be imported in the first quarter of 2021 and frontline workers will be inoculated for free.
In a tweet, he said that the private sector was also allowed to import internationally approved coronavirus vaccines.
Phase 3 trials of a Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine was found 79 percent effective, the Chinese pharma giant said, lower than rival jabs developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna but a potential breakthrough in the battle to stem the pandemic in Asia.
China has been racing against time to develop its own Covid-19 vaccines, with five already in large-scale Phase 3 clinical trials.
“The protective effect of the (Sinopharm CNBG Beijing) vaccine against Covid-19 is 79.34 percent,” said the Beijing Institute of Biological Products, a Sinopharm subsidiary.
Sinopharm has applied to China’s drug regulator for approval of the inactivated coronavirus vaccine, the statement said, a type of inoculation using particles of the pathogen.
Chinese officials have repeatedly assured the public of the vaccines’ safety, claiming that there have been no serious adverse reactions.
The United Arab Emirates approved a Sinopharm vaccine earlier this month, becoming the first foreign country to approve a China-developed Covid-19 vaccine. It said the vaccine was 86 percent effective, according to interim results of a Phase 3 trial.
Beijing has pledged to share the vaccine at a fair cost - a potential boost for poorer Asian countries who are otherwise reliant on limited distribution offered by the COVAX scheme.