As many as 45 million doses of Indian coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine Covishield will reach in Pakistan in March, according to a report published in Pakistan daily The Nation. This will be the first batch of Covishield, the vaccine developed by the Serum Institute Of India (SII), to reach India's neighbouring country.
The doses will be received under an agreement with Gavi, the vaccine alliance, the report said, adding that additional 16 million doses will be received by June this year.
A total of 27.5m people, including frontline workers and senior citizens, have been vaccinated against Covid-19 in Pakistan, Federal secretary of the Ministry of national health services regulations and coordination Aamir Ashraf Khawaja said in a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). The meeting was headed by PAC chairperson Rana Tanveer Hussain.
The government has decided to prioritise health workers and people over the age of 65 for vaccination, Khawaja said.
Gavi, a public-private partnership that helps provide vaccines to developing countries, had signed an agreement with Pakistan to provide Covid-19 vaccine in September 2020, the report said. According to the health secretary, it was expected earlier that the vaccine doses would arrive under the agreement in the first week of March but the dispatch got delayed.
China-made vaccine CanSino, which would cost USD 13 or around Pakistani Rs2,000 per person, had completed its phase-three trials in Pakistan with 75 per cent efficacy and a total of 18,000 people were inoculated using the vaccine, news agency ANI said, quoting a report from The Express Tribune.
According to the health authorities, no serious buyers from the private sector had come forward as the applications received so far were incomplete. The applicants, authorities said, had not even stated which vaccine and how many doses they wanted to import, and where they planned to administer them, the news agency further reported.