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Monday Mar 22 2021

COVID-19: Pakistan to start import of CanSino vaccine for commercial use this week

A logo of China's vaccine specialist CanSino Biologics Inc is pictured on the company's headquarters in Tianjin, China August 17, 2020. Photo: Reuters

ISLAMABAD: A private company in Pakistan will begin receiving shipments of China's CanSino Biologics COVID-19 vaccine this week for commercial sale, an official at the company's local partner said on Monday.

Pakistan, one of the first countries in the world to allow private imports of COVID-19 vaccines, has already received a batch of the Russian Sputnik vaccine for commercial sale.

"We expect the first 10,000 doses to come on March 25, and 100,000 next month and 200,000 the month after," said Hassan Abbas, an official of AJ Pharma, CanSino's local partner, which will be importing the vaccine.

Read more: Punjab govt may close wedding halls, ban sports activities for two weeks, says Firdous Ashiq Awan

Abbas said the commercial name of the vaccine would be "Convidecia". Five hospitals that took part in clinical trials for the vaccine will be provided the doses for commercial sale, he added.

Pakistan is in the process of vaccinating frontline healthcare workers and citizens over the age of 60 free of charge using Sinopharm doses donated by China.

The commercial administration of vaccines is yet to begin as the government settles pricing issues for the private sector, after reversing its decision to allow uncapped prices.

CanSino Biologics and Pakistan's Health Minister Faisal Sultan did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Read more: Sputnik V vaccine imported in Pakistan at a cost price of $22.5 per dose

Meanwhile, the Federal Cabinet has approved the prices recommended by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) for coronavirus vaccines imported by private companies.

According to Geo News sources, the price for Russia's Sputnik V vaccine has been fixed at Rs 8,449 for two doses and for China's CanSino Biologics vaccine at Rs4,225 per jab.

The Cabinet approved the sale prices of both coronavirus vaccines through a summary circulation.

The importer of the Russian vaccine has raised objections on the retail price after which the government decided to review it.