Pakistan receives first batch of Pfizer Covid vaccine through Covax: Unicef

Pakistan has received 100,000 doses of Pfizer Covid vaccine through Covax — the World Health Organisation’s global shared vaccine programme — while shipments of diluents and syringes will be arriving today (Saturday) and tomorrow.

Pakistan receives first batch of Pfizer Covid vaccine through Covax: Unicef

The announcement of the vaccine’s arrival was shared by Unicef Pakistan on Twitter which also commended Pakistan for the “successful rollout of the countrywide Covid-19 vaccination campaign, excellent arrangements at vaccination centres and inclusion of all above 18 years of age”.

This is the second consignment of vaccines that Pakistan has received through the Pfizer Covid vaccine facility. The country received the first shipment earlier this month consisting of 1,238,400 doses of AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccines. Officials had said at the time that a further 1,236,000 doses would be received in the coming days.

Pakistan is set to receive a total of 17.2 million doses through Covax.

So far, Pakistan has approved five Covid vaccines: Sinopharm, Cansino, Sinovac, Sputnik and AstraZeneca.

Earlier in the week, the government announced it had started production of China’s single-dose CanSino vaccine at the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Islamabad.

A tweet by the government’s official account said three million doses of the vaccine would be produced per month to “significantly reduce Pakistan’s dependence on importing vaccines from other countries”.

An official of the NIH, requesting not to be named, said 120,000 doses of the CanSino Covid-19 vaccine had been packed and hopefully a launching ceremony would be held by the end of the current month.

“The test trial of the first batch has been completed, which included stability test, safety test, sterility test and spike protein test. Overall 120,000 doses have been prepared and a tentative date for the launching ceremony is May 30,” the NIH official had said.

The University of Health Sciences has also started working on protocols to commence trials for a nasal vaccine, which would not require a syringe.

It is hoped the clinical trial will start in six to eight weeks after necessary approval is obtained.

On Wednesday, the government decided to open registration for all people over 18 years having computerised national identity cards (CNICs) from May 28.

Around 39 million people were set to benefit from the decision and almost 100 per cent of the population that can be vaccinated became eligible for registration.

Meanwhile, country-wide cases have been declining with Pakistan reporting less than 3,000 cases for the last five days. On Saturday, 2,455 new infections were detected while the positivity rate declined to 4.4pc from 4.8pc a day earlier.

Deaths from the coronavirus have also stayed below 100 for the last eight days.

Originally published at Dawn