2 million more doses of Sinovac vaccine arrive in Pakistan

pakistan vaccine covid sinovac
A woman receives the first shot of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine from a paramedic at a vaccination centre, in Lahore, Pakistan, Thursday, June 3, 2021. Image Credit: AP

Islamabad: Two million doses of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine doses arrived in Islamabad from Beijing, making it the second batch of Chinese jabs to arrive this month.

Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) special flight transported the fresh tranche to Islamabad airport. It comes at a crucial time as the country of 220 million has already exhausted its initial vaccine supplies that slowed the vaccination process across Pakistan.

The country has administered nearly 14 million of the total 16 million doses in its inventory. Around 250,000 doses are being administered every day.

The Sinovac vaccine procurement is “part of the planned contracted quantity purchased from China. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is spearheading the purchase process of vaccines from the international market” said National Command Operation Centre, which is supervising the pandemic response. The doses would be deployed at all vaccine centres across the country and speed up the vaccination process, the statement said.

With the latest shipment of Sinovac (CoronaVac), Pakistan has so far procured 18 million doses of different vaccines. It includes Sinopharm (6.7m doses), Sinovac (9m), AstraZeneca (1.24m), CanSino (1m) and Pfizer (0.1m). Pakistan has allocated $1 billion for vaccine procurement as the country aims to vaccinate 70 million vaccine eligible people by the end of 2021.

This week, Pakistan also signed an agreement with Pfizer for 13 million doses of the American-German vaccine.

Sinovac vaccine

Sinovac, called CoronaVac in some regions, is developed by a Beijing-based biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech Ltd. The vaccine is approved for use in 32 countries and shots are being administered in China, Turkey, Indonesia and Brazil. Sinovac and Sinopharm are the two Chinese vaccines that have received the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) emergency approval.

Sinovac facts

· It is recommended for people above 18 years of age

· It can be stored in a standard refrigerator at 2-8 degrees Celsius

· The vaccine requires two doses, given 28 days apart

· Efficacy rates varied between 50 and 90 per cent in different studies.

Pakistan reported 38 deaths from coronavirus in the last 24 hours. This is the 10th consecutive day the country reported less than 50 deaths from the virus, according to official stats. The country recorded 1,097 new infections over the past 24 hours.