KARACHI: Pakistan received the first shipment of 60,000 doses of single-dose Chinese vaccine Convidecia, developed by the CanSino Biologics Inc, in Islamabad Tuesday night.
Officials of the National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHSR&C) confirmed the vaccine arrival. They said distribution to provinces and other federating units will start today (Wednesday).
“A commercial flight carrying 60,000 doses of Chinese single-dose vaccine Convidecia has just landed at Islamabad International Airport and it is being shifted to the federal storage. Its distribution to provinces and other federating units would commence from Wednesday,” an official of the NHSR&C was quoted as saying by The News.
This vaccine will only be given to people over 80 years of age as per instructions from the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), he said, adding that separate Adult Vaccination Centers (AVCs) will be made for it.
According to an NCOC communique to all the federating units, this single-dose vaccine is being given only to those over 80 to avoid them from visiting vaccination centers for a second time.
“Owing to its availability in small quantity, it is recommended that it should only be administered in large cities with high number of COVID-19 cases,” the NCOC directives say, adding that the vaccination record of Convidecia should also be maintained separately.
NCOC has instructed that no vaccination be done outside the National Immunization Management System (NIMS), which means that without registration, nobody should be vaccinated with a single-dose. Although the vaccine will be available at all walk-in facilities, registration will be mandatory at the newly established AVCs.
Private firm AJM Pharmaceutical Limited is also importing 10,000 doses of the CanSino coronavirus vaccine. It will be sold initially to three private hospitals in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi where its trials were held.
The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has recommended a maximum retail price (MRP) of Rs4,225 for the single dose Chinese Convidecia vaccine in Pakistan, although the federal cabinet has to approve and notify the price, an AJM official said.
DRAP’s registration board had given emergency use authorisation to CanSino Biologics’s single-dose vaccine in the second week of February 2021 after the Chinese manufacturer released interim efficacy results from a multi-country trial, which included Pakistan, showing 65.7% efficacy in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 cases and a 90.98% success rate in stopping severe infections.