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health
Thursday Jan 14 2021
By
Web Desk

COVID-19 vaccine: AstraZeneca seeks registration in Pakistan, say sources

By
Web Desk
REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Files
  • AstraZeneca seeks permission from Pakistani authorities to get its COVID-19 vaccine registered
  • A local pharmaceutical company has submitted AstraZeneca's vaccine data to DRAP
  • Pakistan expects to get 1.2 million doses from China's Sinopharm next month


British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has sought permission from Pakistani authorities to get its COVID-19 vaccine registered in the country, sources said Thursday.

A local pharmaceutical company has submitted AstraZeneca's vaccine data to the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP).

The AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, which was granted its first approval by Britain late December, is cheaper and easier to use than some rival shots, thus providing major advantages in tackling a pandemic that has claimed more than 1.8 million lives worldwide.

Read more: India approves AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine

However, it has been plagued with uncertainty about its most effective dosage ever since data published in November showed a half-dose followed by a full dose had a 90% success rate while two full shots were 62% effective.

Two days back, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Dr Faisal Sultan had said Pakistan was hopeful it would receive the first batch of the COVID-19 vaccine from China’s Sinopharm in “early February".

Pakistan said last month it would purchase 1.2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from Sinopharm in the first official confirmation of a vaccine purchase as the country battles the second wave of infections.

Read more: Pakistan to get Chinese COVID-19 vaccine by early February

“We hope to be able to get vaccine doses from Sinopharm in the first quarter of this year, hopefully starting in early February,” Dr Sultan said in an interview with Arab News, adding that the government aims to begin the process of vaccination within the first quarter of this year.

“We are hoping to deploy the vaccine within the first quarter. The 1.1 million doses are just the first phase,” he said.