ISLAMABAD: As the country reported 1,920 new coronavirus cases and 46 deaths in a single day, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) on Monday approved another Covid-19 vaccine manufactured by Chinese state-owned firm Sinopharm.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), a representative body of doctors, has asked the government to share details of the vaccines which are under consideration for import as well as their efficacy rates.
Moreover, with the resumption of matric and intermediate classes across the country on Monday when the winter is on its peak, it is feared that coronavirus cases may further increase.
On the other hand, World Health Organisation (WHO) Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus revealed that during the last four decades the global community had lost battles against pandemics twice and urged the nations to avoid past mistakes and beat history as promise of equitable access to the vaccine was at serious risk.
Drap chief executive officer Dr Asim Rauf said the National Institute of Health (NIH) got the Sinopharm’s vaccine registered on its name. “The approval has been given for emergency use and it will pave the way for bringing the vaccine to Pakistan,” he added.
It is worth mentioning that Pakistan has already pre-booked 1.1 million doses of Sinopharm’s Covid-19 vaccine and after its approval by Drap the process of its import will start soon.
On Jan 16, Drap had approved AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use in Pakistan.
In a statement, the PMA said Drap had reportedly approved AstraZeneca’s vaccine which is being manufactured by India. Pakistan will acquire this vaccine through Covax, for 20 per cent population, which is a global alliance for vaccine support.
“PMA wants to know the dosage of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine; will it be administered once in life, once a year or more than that? Who will be the beneficiary of this free vaccine? PMA and other stakeholders should be taken on board by the government. Healthcare workers both from public and private sectors should be administered vaccine on a priority basis. Up till now 175 doctors and 30 paramedics have lost their lives due to Covid-19,” it stated.
PMA secretary general Dr Qaisar Sajjad said it was unfortunate that even the doctors, if infected with the virus, were not aware where to go for treatment as no beds were reserved for doctors in any corona-designated hospital.
“So many countries of the world have started vaccinating their people. Even India has started the world’s largest coronavirus vaccination drive under which more than 300 million people will be vaccinated. On the other hand, Pakistan might get the first consignment of free vaccine from Covax in the second quarter of 2021. Unfortunately, we do not see any such planning by our government for vaccinating people,” he regretted.
Dr Sajjad demanded that the government expedite the process of acquiring the Covid-19 vaccine. “Healthcare workers and people above 60 years of age suffering from diabetes, hypertension, cancer or any other uncompromised disease should be vaccinated on a priority basis,” he said.
According to data of the National Command and Operation Centre, 39 people died in hospitals and seven out of hospital during the last 24 hours. As many as 325 ventilators were in use across the country and the number of active cases reached 34,986.