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pakistan
Wednesday Feb 03 2021
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'No major reaction from coronavirus vaccine,' says Karachi health official

A woman holds a small bottle — labeled "Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine" — and a medical syringe, October 30, 2020. — Reuters/Dado Ruvic/File

Dr Nadeem Sheikh, the director of the directorate of health services in Karachi, has assured citizens that getting vaccinated for coronavirus is safe and no major reactions result from the shot.

"Some people may get fever that lasts a day or two," said Dr Sheikh, adding that a temporary red rash, watery eyes and nose and slight body pain may also be experienced by some.

"There can be no extraordinary or major reaction from getting a vaccine," he said.

Citing the World Health Organisation, he said that a person will have to "wait for a while" before antibodies are formed.

Speaking of the groups of individuals to be first in line to get the vaccine, he said registration of people aged above 60 has not yet begun.

Dr Sheikh said that those who contracted COVID-19 and have antibodies, do not need to get the vaccine for now. On the flip side, whoever tested negative for coronavirus may get the vaccine.

The vaccination drive in Sindh began today with healthcare workers the first to be administered the shot.

Dr Sheikh said that there are 64,000 registered healthcare professionals in Karachi alone and there are 120 cubicles in 10 vaccination centres that have been made to inoculate the city's health workers.

Prime Minister Imran Khan kicked off Pakistan's vaccination drive on Tuesday after the country obtained a gift of 500,000 doses from China.

Sinopharm vaccine

Pakistan has approved, among two other vaccines, the emergency use of one developed by Sinopharm, a state-run Chinese firm.

According to a BBC report, Sinopharm announced on December 30 that phase three trials of the vaccine showed that it was 79% effective.

Other vaccines approved for use

The other two vaccines approved for use by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) are the Oxford-AstraZeneca (70.4% effective) and the Sputnik V (91.4% effective) vaccines.

COVAX, a WHO initiative to ensure supply of vaccines to all countries, has indicated a supply of up to 17 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine for Pakistan in the first half of 2021, according to the chief of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), Asad Umar.

DRAP had earlier expressed hope that the first batch of the Sputnik V vaccine would reach Pakistan by the end of January. It is not known how soon it will be available.

"A local pharmaceutical firm, AGP Limited, had applied for registration, marketing and distribution of the (Sputnik V) vaccine in Pakistan,” a DRAP official said.