Pakistan launches homemade COVID-19 vaccine 'PakVac' with China's help
Pakistan has launched its first locally-processed anti-coronavirus vaccine PakVac, developed in collaboration with China. It is a localized version of the CanSino vaccine, a single-dose vaccine developed by the CanSino Biologics. The development is significant for the South Asian country as it struggles to inoculate its population amid a third wave of the coronavirus. Here are more details.
1,20,000 doses are ready for use
One lakh and twenty thousand (1.2 lakh) doses of the vaccine are ready for use and production will be further scaled up in the coming days, said Dr. Faisal Sultan, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan's Special Assistant on Health. "This is a milestone in the journey to achieve self-reliance," Sultan tweeted last evening. Raw materials for this vaccine were supplied to Pakistan by China.
'This is a revolution,' says Pakistani Minister
Asad Umar, the Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, called it a "revolution." "We also take inspiration from China and our Prime Minister also gives their example again and again. It is heart-warming the way China has supported us, as always," Umar said at the launch event, according to the Pakistani newspaper Dawn.
How effective is the CanSino vaccine?
The CanSino vaccine's interim efficacy in a multi-country trial was pegged at 65.7% in preventing symptomatic coronavirus infection. It was 90.98% effective in preventing a severe case of COVID-19. Apart from the aforementioned, the Ministry of Health in Pakistan has so far given approval to the following coronavirus vaccines - Sinopharm, Sinovac (both from China), Russia-made Sputnik V, and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
How is the vaccination drive going in Pakistan?
Just last week, Pakistan had opened its COVID-19 vaccination program to all adults. The country has so far administered 7.3 million (73 lakh) doses of its various approved coronavirus vaccines, according to reports. Nearly two million (20 lakh) people are fully vaccinated in Pakistan, accounting for roughly 1% of its population of 220 million (22 crore).
The coronavirus situation in Pakistan
Pakistan faced a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic over the past couple of months. Daily new cases peaked at over 6,000 there in 2021. However, the situation has since improved - According to the latest update from the Ministry of National Health Services, 1,771 new infections were reported, taking the nationwide tally past 9,22,000. Nearly 21,000 have died of the coronavirus in Pakistan.