ISLAMABAD: The state-run National Institute of Health has begun the production of a single-dose Chinese coronavirus vaccine believing the initiative will help meet the country's vaccine needs.
The officials told ‘The News’ that a total of 124,000 CanSino jabs had been developed with China’s support and they would be rolled out in local packaging in the current week.
Pakistan was among the first countries to take part in the clinical trial of CanSino vaccine. Its local production comes after the successful clinical trial in the country.
The officials said Chinese firm CanSino Biologics Inc had provided the NIH with the raw material and technology for vaccine production and even sent in experts to oversee the exercise.
They said the vaccine was produced by Pakistani experts under the supervision of Chinese experts but its second batch would be prepared solely by the NIH.
The officials said the NIH's quality control division was currently examining the locally manufactured vaccine and initial trials had proved it was safe to be administered.
They said the documents pertaining to the vaccine production would be submitted to the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan for approval.
"The DRAP's National Control Lab for Biologicals will examine the vaccine and give a final approval for its use in the country. The countrywide vaccine supply will begin shortly after the approval,” an official said.
The officials said China not only donated vaccines and other supplies to Pakistan for fighting coronavirus but also transferred the technology of vaccine production to it.
They said the local production of CanSino vaccine would gradually make the country largely self-sufficient in meeting the COVID-19 vaccine needs.
The officials said the country had around 100 million people eligible for COVID-19 vaccination and the government wanted to vaccinate 70 million by the end of 2021.
They said currently, vaccine was administered to over 200,000 people daily and efforts were under way to take the number to 300,000.
The officials said around three million people had already been vaccinated against the virus in the country.
They said Pakistan was a vaccine insecure country but the local vaccine production would ease its dependence on other countries.
Pakistan is currently using China’s CanSino and Sinopharm vaccines in government hospitals. Private hospitals in major cities have begun the people’s inoculation with Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, which was imported by a pharmaceutical company but there’re complaints of the vaccine shortages.
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