To restrain the Coronavirus pandemic in Pakistan, the country’s private sector will import the vaccine from the British company AstraZeneca, which is manufactured in neighbouring India.
Permission has been granted to Sindh Medical Stores (SMS), a Karachi-based private pharmaceutical company, to import vaccines developed by AstraZeneca.
The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has recently authorized the emergency use of two foreign coronavirus vaccines in the country, including the Chinese vaccine Sinopharm and the vaccine manufactured by AstraZeneca.
Akhtar Abbas, the media coordinator of DRAP in Islamabad, said that in the next 24 hours, SMS would be issued a formal license for Australasia vaccine, after which a private company would be able to import the vaccine.
He said a request for permission for a coronavirus vaccine manufactured by a Russian company had also been received.
On the other hand, Mohsin, an SMS correspondent, said that his company would import the AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured at the Serum Institute of India, a vaccine manufacturer in India.
he said that the price of the vaccine has not been determined yet, but its price will be kept to a minimum.
The Serum Institute of India, located in Poona, Maharashtra, India, is the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world, producing the World Health Organization (WHO) approved vaccines.
Pakistan, which is currently suffering from the second wave of coronavirus, has reported more than half a million positive cases of the virus and more than 11,000 deaths.
Remember that this is not the first time that any medicine or vaccine manufactured in India will be imported to Pakistan.
According to official figures, Pakistan imports at least 100 items from India, the bulk of which are chemicals used by pharmaceutical companies as raw materials.
Apart from the raw materials used in the pharmaceutical industry, a large number of medicines manufactured in India also reach Pakistan.
According to the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Association, more raw materials imported from India are used in the manufacture of life-saving drugs, including cancer, tuberculosis, heart disease and post-transplant drugs. Many of the chemicals used to make vaccines also come from India.
How effective is AstraZeneca?
AstraZeneca is a British-Swedish joint venture headquartered at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.
The company announced in November last year that its AZD1222 coronavirus vaccine, which was tested at Oxford University, had shown 70% effectiveness.
According to the company, the vaccine takes two injections at an interval of one month, while 90% of results can be achieved by halving the amount of the drug in the second shot.
The AstraZeneca vaccine, which was approved in the UK in December last year, is said to be relatively cheap and easy to use compared to other coronavirus vaccines.
The effectiveness of the AstraZeneca vaccine has been challenged in various countries around the world, including India itself, but experts believe it is a better medicine for emergency use.
Akhtar Abbas of DRAP says: “Emergency use means that you do not have complete data on the vaccine and it has not been tried on a large number of people in trials.”
He explained that with the permission of such vaccines, detailed protocols for use are also prepared, in which all precautions are taken to minimize the potential risks.
When will the vaccine come to Pakistan?
Vaccination has begun in 34 countries around the world to control the coronavirus epidemic, but Pakistan is not yet among those countries.
Dr Faisal Sultan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, told the media on Wednesday evening that the corona vaccine would reach Pakistan in the first quarter of this year.
Private company SMS, on the other hand, may take at least a month to import the vaccine.