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Coronavirus vaccine: Pakistan approves AstraZeneca vaccine for emergency use

COVID-19 vaccine: Pakistan, which is seeing rising numbers of coronavirus infections, said its vaccines would be procured from multiple sources

twitter-logoReuters | January 17, 2021 | Updated 08:38 IST
Coronavirus vaccine: Pakistan approves AstraZeneca vaccine for emergency use
Pakistan approves AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine has been approved for emergency use in Pakistan, the health minister said on Saturday, making it the first coronavirus vaccine to get the green light for use in the South Asian country.

Pakistan, which is seeing rising numbers of coronavirus infections, said its vaccines would be procured from multiple sources.

"DRAP granted emergency use authorisation to AstraZeneca's COVID vaccine," the health minister, Faisal Sultan, told Reuters.

Approval has been given to get more than a million doses of Sinopharm's vaccine from China, he said.

"We are in the process to obtain Western origin and other vaccines both via bilateral purchase agreements as well as via the COVAX facility," he said.

The Chinese vaccine is awaiting approval from the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), which has received and reviewed its data.

Pakistan is speaking to a number of vaccine makers, and Sultan said the country could get "in the range of tens of millions" of vaccine doses under an agreement with China's CanSinoBio.

The vaccine company's Ad5-nCoV COVID-19 candidate is nearing completion of Phase III clinical trials in Pakistan.

Efficacy is a key factor, said Sultan. "We have and are watching the evolving stories around efficacy of a number of vaccines."

Also read: Brazil says flight to India for AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccines delayed

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