DRAP said that the regulatory body of medicine, during the board meeting, has given ‘emergency use’ approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The Drugs Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) on Saturday approved the Oxford University AstraZeneca Covid-19 shot for emergency use in the country. The UK-based AstraZeneca becomes the first vaccine locally approved for use in the country.

Officials Saturday confirmed the DRAP under its mandate observed the efficacy of the vaccine and gave its emergency use approval. Senior officials at the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) and DRAP informed The Nation that the regulatory body of medicine, during the board meeting, has given ‘emergency use’ approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

“Sindh medical stores will import the vaccine in the country,” said a senior official at the health ministry. The officials said that the price and quantity of doses will be decided by the ministry.

Director General Health Dr Rana Muhammad Safdar confirming the approval of the UK based AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine confirmed this development. DRAP officials said that the vaccine has been approved as its efficacy in clinical trials has been reported above 90 percent.

The officials also informed that some other vaccine manufacturers had also applied for the approval, but the process has been pending due to the incomplete data submitted with the DRAP.

Earlier, the Special Cabinet Committee constituted as an oversight body for procurement of the COVID-19 vaccine has decided to pre-book COVID-19 vaccine from a Chinese state-owned company, Sinopharm, based on the data submitted and timely availability.

A statement released by the ministry said that the special committee had held its second meeting with Minister for Planning Asad Umar in the chair.

Minister for Science & Technology Fawad Chaudhry and Minister for Industries Hammad Azhar are the other members of this committee who attended the meeting. Special Assistant to PM on Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar and SAPM on Health Dr Faisal Sultan also attended the meeting.

The meeting reviewed the overall situation of COVID-19 vaccines. The committee was apprised that a number of countries have pre-booked COVID-19 vaccine based on preliminary or incomplete results in order to ensure the timely availability of vaccines for their populations. In some situations, vaccines were pre-booked even in development stages to ensure availability.

Originally published at Nation