The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) has authorised the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine shot for emergency use in Pakistan on Saturday.
AstraZeneca vaccine has become the first vaccine to get local approval for use in the South Asian country.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr. Faisal Sultan told Reuters, “Drap granted emergency use authorisation to AstraZeneca’s COVID vaccine.”.
“We are in the process to obtain Western origin and other vaccines both via bilateral purchase agreements as well as via the Covax facility,” he said.
He informed that Pakistan has also pre-booked more than a million doses of Sinopharm’s vaccine from China, adding that the Sinopharm vaccine is awaiting approval from Drap, which has received and reviewed its data.
Sultan also said that Pakistan is speaking to a number of vaccine makers, and the country could get “in the range of tens of millions” of vaccine doses under an agreement with China’s CanSinoBio.
The vaccine company’s Ad5-nCoV COVID-19 candidate is nearing completion of Phase III clinical trials in Pakistan.
“We have and are watching the evolving stories around the efficacy of a number of vaccines,” he added.
Sultan informed that the preliminary results of China’s CanSinoBio. may come in by mid-February.
He further added that Pakistan has been considering to engage with Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine as well.
“Our aim is that the bulk of the population will be covered free,” SAPM said, adding that private sectors could also be allowed once supply was available to an authorized company.