Monday May 10, 2021
KARACHI/ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: People under 40 years of age cannot use the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, Pakistan's government has announced under its new guidelines for the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
The restriction for people under 40 years of age is irrespective of gender.
Another change in guidelines is that the interval between doses will be 12 weeks instead of a range of 8-12 weeks mentioned earlier.
These two changes were confirmed to The News by Health Director-General Dr Rana Muhammad Safdar. They have been made on recommendation by an expert committee.
Dr Safdar said the two changes will lead to operational ease. The guidelines, however, will remain interim, he said, as new data from around the world keeps pouring.
International guidelines on the use of coronavirus vaccines are rapidly changing on the basis of new data and research, Dr Safdar said, adding that if a need is felt, guidelines for AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine use would be reviewed again.
“All decisions are evidence-based to optimally ensure the safety and efficacy of all vaccines authorised for use in Pakistan. Additionally, an efficient system is in place for adverse event surveillance in accordance with the global guidelines. It is heartening that all events reported so far are of minor nature and fully recovered,” Dr Safdar said.
Currently, people above 40 years are eligible to get registered for the COVID-19 vaccination through the government's portal.