Pakistan will receive 17 million doses of COVISHIELD through the COVAX route after it refused to directly procure Indian-made novel coronavirus vaccines. India has reportedly committed 100 lakh doses of vaccines to COVAX, a global initiative which aims at ensuring that middle and lower-income countries get timely access to COVID-19 vaccines.
In a statement, Dr. Faisal Sultan- the Special Assistant to the Pakistani Prime Minister mentioned that 35-40% of these doses will be available in the first quarter of 2021 itself, while the rest will be supplied in the second half.
Pakistan which is currently witnessing a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has approved China's Sinopharm vaccine and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for emergency use. Till now, Pakistan has recorded 5,46,428 confirmed novel coronavirus cases out of which 5,01,252 patients have recovered while 11,683 fatalities have been reported.
Earlier in the day, it received 5,00,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine thereby paving way for the commencement of the country's COVID-19 vaccination drive next week. It is pertinent to note that India has sent vaccines as grant assistance and on commercial basis to numerous countries such as Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Oman, Brazil, Morocco and Myanmar.
Happy to share that in addition to the 500,000 doses of Sinopharm, almost 7 million does of AstraZeneca to be made available in Q1 and given to the public free of cost! Pakistan’s vaccine drive starts next week, beginning with frontline healthcare workers. pic.twitter.com/6nJACx9aL7— Faisal Sultan (@fslsltn) January 30, 2021
On January 3, the Drugs Controller General of India accepted the recommendations of the Subject Expert Committee of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation, paving way for the approval of COVISHIELD and COVAXIN. Manufactured by the Serum Institute of India with technology transfer from Oxford University-AstraZeneca, COVISHIELD is a Recombinant Chimpanzee Adenovirus vector vaccine with its overall efficacy of 70.42 per cent. On the other hand, COVAXIN is a Whole Virion Inactivated Corona Virus Vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with ICMR and NIV.
Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan has made it clear that all the recipients of this vaccine will be tracked and monitored as if they are in clinical trial mode. On January 16, PM Modi launched the pan-India rollout of the novel coronavirus vaccination drive via video conferencing. In the first phase, 3 crore frontline workers shall be vaccinated followed by the people aged above 50 years and the under-50 population group with co-morbidities. A total of 37,58,843 beneficiaries have been vaccinated for the novel coronavirus as of 8 am on February 1.