Pakistan successfully launched on Tuesday a locally developed coronavirus vaccine PakVac in collaboration with China’s Cansino Bio.
“We found our friend China closest to us in overcoming the Covid-19 challenge,” Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr. Faisal Sultan said while addressing the launch ceremony.
Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar termed the development an important one for Pakistan. “Only nations that focus on increasing their knowledge and have the capacity to translate that knowledge equation into technological progress,” Umar said in his address.
The minister further said that Pakistanis preferred the Chinese-manufactured vaccines over the ones manufactured in Western countries, adding that people ask for the Chinese vaccines to be administered to them when they came to vaccination centers.
“We also need to promote PakVac as it is produced by us,” he said.
The vaccine has been prepared after rigorous quality control checks and meets the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s standards.
During the launch ceremony, Dr. Sultan stated that the country will soon be able to start the production of the vaccine.
He lauded the National Institute of Health (NIH) for developing the vaccine, adding that “Developing the vaccine from raw materials is not an easy task. [We are] proud of the people that developed the vaccine at the NIH”.
Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong, in his address, stated that the vaccine’s production is an example of the friendship between the two countries.
Pakistan started its inoculation drive in February with vaccine assistance from China. Initially, the campaign covered frontline healthcare workers and eventually expanded to senior citizens in the second phase.
Pakistan has decided to open vaccination for people aged 18 and above from June 3, paving way for all eligible age groups to get inoculated. Meanwhile, walk-in vaccination for people aged 30 and above is underway.
Since the beginning of the immunization drive, more than 7 million people have been vaccinated in Pakistan against Covid-19.
Pakistan has so far approved Sinopharm, Cansino, Sinovac, Sputnik and AstraZeneca.