By National News Desk
Pakistan will purchase 1.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from China’s Sinopharm, the Minister said on Thursday, the first official confirmation of the purchase of the vaccine by the South Asian country as it fights a second wave of infections.
On Thursday, China approved the COVID-19 vaccine developed by the state-sponsored pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm, its first approved vaccine for general public use.
“The Cabinet Committee has decided to initially purchase 1.2 million doses of the vaccine from the Chinese company Sinopharm, which will be provided free of cost to frontline workers in the first quarter of 2021,” Pakistani Minister for Science and Technology Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said on Twitter.
Pakistan had earlier this month approved $150 million in funding to buy COVID-19 vaccines, initially to cover the most vulnerable 5 per cent of the population. The country did not announce which vaccine it would procure, but said a panel of experts was compiling a list of recommendations and that it could tap more than one source.
“If the private sector wants to import any other internationally-approved vaccine, it can do so,” Hussain said on Thursday.
The country of 220 million is in the midst of another spate of infections, with 58 deaths on Wednesday taking its death count past 10,000. It also reported 2,475 new infections, taking the total to 479,715.
Pakistan is also running phase III clinical trials for CanSino Biologics’ COVID-19 vaccine candidate, Ad5-nCoV, led by the government-run National Institute of Health.