Earlier this month, Pakistan had approved $150 million in funding to purchase 1.2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, initially to cover the most vulnerable 5 percent of the country’s population.
A minister said on Thursday that the South Asian country will buy 1.2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from the company Sinopharm of China. This is the first official confirmation from the government of a vaccine purchase by the country as it is facing a second wave of infections.
Pakistan’s Minister for Science and Technology, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, said on Twitter that the Cabinet Committee had decided to initially buy 1.2 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine from the Chinese company Sinopharm. These vaccine doses will be provided freely to frontline workers in the first quarter of 2021.
China approved the COVID-19 vaccine developed by state-sponsored medical company Sinopharm on Thursday, the first of its kind to be approved by the general public.
Pakistan earlier this month approved a $ 150 million grant to buy COVID-19 drugs, for the first time covering 5 percent of high-risk people.
Pakistan did not reveal which type of Covid-19 vaccine it would procure. However, the government said that a panel of experts was compiling a list of recommendations, which could tap more than one source.
Hussain said on Thursday that if the private sector wanted to import any other internationally-approved vaccine, it could do so.
The country of 220 million people is having to face up with another wave of infections. There are up to 58 deaths due to the virus on Wednesday, which takes its death count past 10,000.
It also reported 2,475 new infections, which took the total to 479,715 cases.
Pakistan also uses Candyino Biologics’ phase III clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccine employee, Ad5-nCoV, led by the state-run National Institute of Health.