Pakistan has decided to pre-book 1.1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Chinese state-owned company Sinopharm, the health ministry said here on Thursday, as the number of coronavirus cases reached 479,715 after 2,475 new infections were detected in the country. China on Thursday granted conditional approval to the country’s first homegrown COVID-19 vaccine developed by Sinopharm. The approval came a day after Sinopharm said its vaccine showed 79.34 per cent efficacy and a 99.52 per cent antibody-positive conversion rate in the interim results of Phase III clinical trials.
The decision to procure the vaccine was made in the meeting of a special cabinet committee on Wednesday after Sinopharm said that its vaccine was 79.34 per cent effective, the Ministry of National Health Services said. The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) has not yet approved the emergency use of the drug which once approved would be given free to all frontline health workers in the first quarter of 2021.
The committee was informed that Pakistan was in contact with other drug manufacturers for future bookings. The committee said that the private sector would also be encouraged to approach Drap for emergency use of any available and safe COVID-19 vaccine.
Meanwhile, another 58 people died in Pakistan due to coronavirus, taking the COVID-19 toll to 10,105, while 2,206 people were in critical conditions. The number of recuperated people reached 435,073 after 4,960 people recovered in the last 24 hours.
It was the second consecutive day that over 4,000 patients tested negative. The authorities have carried out 39,659 tests in the last one day, registering a positivity rate of 6.24 per cent.