Islamabad, Pakistan: Pakistan's state-run National Institute of Health (NIH) has managed to locally produce the first batch of China-made single-dose coronavirus vaccine CanSino.
The locally-made Chinese vaccine has been named, PakVac and the first batch of vaccine would be available for administration by the end of this month, Arya News reported. Faisal Sultan, a senior health official said that the product has passed rigorous internal testing and said it was an important step to help in Pakistan's vaccine supply line. The official also congratulated the team of the premier health institute of Pakistan for their achievement.
"Congratulations to the NIH Pak team and its leadership for successful fill/finish (from concentrate) of the Cansino vaccine with the help of Cansino Bio Inc. China. The product has passed the rigorous internal QA testing. An imp step to help in our vaccine supply line," said Sultan, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on National Health Services, Regulations, and Coordination.
As many as 124,000 CanSino jabs have been developed and they would soon be rolled out.
In a few days, Pakistan's regularity and health authority body will examine the vaccine and give a final approval regarding its use. Following that, NHI would be able to produce three million doses per month.
As COVID-19 vaccines are unavailable to most of the population in Pakistan due to private sales and higher prices, leading critics believe that the country is making inoculations only for the wealthy.
Two doses of the Sputnik V vaccine cost as high as USD 80, while the monthly income of an average worker in Pakistan is about USD 110. Moreover, tight supplies have created hurdles for vaccine sales in Pakistan, making them available for only a fraction of the country's population, reported The New York Times.
"The Pakistani example is a microcosm of what has gone wrong with the global response -- where wealth alone has primarily shaped who gets access. Ending the pandemic will require the global community to do much more than just that," Zain Rizvi, an expert on medicine access at Public Citizen, an advocacy group in Washington.
So far, Pakistan has received over 13 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines from China and COVAX initiative. The cumulative count of infections in the country has crossed 900,000 mark.