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May 9, 2021

Pakistan receives 1.238m doses of AstraZeneca vaccine

Ag APP

KARACHI/ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has received first consignment of around 1.238 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca’s AZD1222 vaccine through a commercial flight on the night between Friday and Saturday in Islamabad.

Women below the age of 40 would not be administered the AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine in Pakistan as its safety data is pending, federal health authorities Saturday said. “Some restrictions on use (of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine) in younger women may be put in place, as an interim”, Special Assistant to Prime Minister SAPM on Health Dr Faisal Sultan told The News.

“In a pandemic with short supply (of vaccines), the pick and choose method is not workable”, Dr Faisal Sultan maintained.

The NHS,R&C in the meanwhile, issued “AstraZeneca Vaccine Interim Guidelines”.

The guidelines bar the vaccine against being administered to people with a history of severe allergic reaction to any component (e.g polysorbate) of the vaccine while it is also not recommended for persons younger than 18 years of age. “People who developed clotting disorder with the first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine should also not be given the second dose while individuals having fever at the time of coming for vaccination, can get it after the illness is settled.”

As far as patients with active COVID-19, the guidelines says those with mild COVID-19 can receive the vaccine once the isolation period complete, while those with severe COVID-19 can receive once they become stable.

Similarly, individuals on short-term immunosuppressive medication should wait for 28 day after the medication ends while those chronically immunosuppressed may receive the vaccine, though efficacy may be lower. “Post-transplantation people may receive the vaccine 3 months after transplantation while post chemotherapy, people may receive the vaccine 28 days after chemotherapy”.

Those having active GI bleeding disorder or seizures are also not recommended to get the vaccine jabs while those with history of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia and thrombosis (HITT or HIT type 2) are also not allowed to get the vaccine. “Those with history of major blood clot occurring at the same time as having low levels of platelets after receiving any COVID-19 vaccine should also not receive the vaccine”, the interim guidelines say.

The federal ministry official maintained that another consignment of the vaccine has been committed in June alongside ‘a little over 0.1 million’ Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine doses, adding even Moderna’s vaccine could be supplied to Pakistan through COVAX.