Pakistan plans to administer the Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccines to its elderly population, a health official said.
The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has till now granted emergency validation to the Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccine and the AstraZeneca vaccine developed by Oxford University.
Pfizer, too, will now be filing for emergency use authorisation in Pakistan later this month, a senior health official told Geo.tv, on the condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the press.
“Pfizer has not applied as yet [for approval],” he explained, “They [the company] has conveyed that they are preparing a dossier for submission by the end of February.”
Once the pharmaceutical company submits its proposal, the drug regulatory authority will then decide if it is safe to roll out the jab.
On February 2, Pakistan officially kicked off its coronavirus inoculation campaign nationwide, after China gifted the country 500,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine.
The tranche will be used to vaccinate the 500,000 healthcare workers in the country who are directly in contact with the Covid-19 infected.
Since then, Pakistan has immunised 10,000 healthcare workers, the health official told Geo.tv.
Besides the delivery from China, Pakistan is also on the list to receive 17,160,000 doses through the global COVAX platform, which is expected to buy in bulk the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine and a smaller quantity of Pfizer as well.
The delivery is expected at the end of February, provided that the World Health Organisation grants Emergency Use Listing to AstraZeneca, a press release from WHO on Wednesday stated.
The WHO has already given the go-ahead to the Pfizer vaccine.
Pakistan plans to use both the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccine on its over 60 years population, who will be vaccinated in the second phase of its drive after covering healthcare professionals, the health official explained.
“For over 60 years, the AstraZeneca will arrive at the end February,” he said, “And small quantities of Pfizer too.”
The two vaccines will be administered to the elderly population provided “the [drugs] meet the requirements of WHO Emergency Use Authorisation or satisfy DRAP quality parameters,” the official added.