DRAP gives approval to PakVac for general use

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-China says it attaches great importance to Pakistan’s demand for Vaccine
-Coronavirus cases drop, Sindh decides to keep restrictions
-Infections rate recorded at 4.34%
-75 deaths, over 2500 cases reported in single day

By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai

ISLAMABAD: The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) Thursday granted go-ahead to locally made COVID-19 vaccine.
Locally made coronavirus vaccine PakVac will be available for general use in the ongoing week.
The National Conrol Lab for Biologicals (NCLB) of the DRAP has issued certificate to PakVac for lot release after the vaccine passed the testing. The first ever COVID-19 vaccine developed in Pakistan ‘PakVac’ has passed testing and is ready for use.
The single-dose vaccine made with the help of China’s CanSino Biologics at the National Institute of Health (NIH). In the first phase a total of 124,000 CanSino shots have been developed, an official at the Ministry of National Health said.
Earlier, vigorous testing of the PakVac at NIH found the vaccine safe and effective against the COVID-19.
According to an official of the ministry, the first batch of bulk CanSino vaccine was processed at the NIH plant, which was set up for this purpose last month. The vaccine was produced by Pakistani experts under the supervision of a Chinese team.
The concentrate of the vaccine was provided by CanSino Biologics. The next consignment of the vaccine will be produced by the Pakistani experts.
The National Institute of Health would be able to produce three million doses per month which would significantly reduce the country’s dependence on other countries.
The country has so far received doses of Covid-19 vaccines of Sinopharm, Sinovac and CanSino procured from China and others through the COVAX programme.
Pakistan is already vaccinating its population of over 30-years and older citizens and announced opening registration for vaccination for the 19-years and above citizens.
The government had planned to vaccinate 70 million population by the end of the year 2021.
China’s help: China has always attached great importance to Pakistan’s demand for vaccines to help fight Covid-19 pandemic and carried out close cooperation with that country, Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Thursday.
“Chinese vaccines manufacturers have cooperated with Pakistan in the development and production of vaccines from very beginning and will continue to export vaccines to Pakistan,” he said in a statement issued here.
He said that China and Pakistan are all weather strategic cooperative partners, adding, “Since the outbreak of Covid-19, China and Pakistan have worked together to help each other and achieve positive results.”
The spokesperson informed that in addition, the Chinese government has so far provided three batches of vaccines aid to Pakistan and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has also provided two batches of aid to Pakistan army.
“The two countries are in close communication on the delivery of a new batch of vaccine aid to Pakistan as soon as possible,”he added.
Zhao Lijian said that in the face of common enemy of mankind, the international community should work together to meet the challenge. “China is ready to deepen cooperation with Pakistan on vaccine and provide support within its capacity to fight the epidemic,” he added.
Sind kept restrictions: A meeting of the Sindh Corona Task Force on Thursday decided to keep the restrictions unchanged to control the coronavirus cases in province.
Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah presiding over the session said that the strict measures have helped in decreasing the rate of the positive cases in Sindh this week. “The people’s cooperation if continued, it will help to overcome the spread of the virus soon,” he hoped.
“The province conducted 22,043 tests yesterday and 1293 positive cases detected,” the session was informed in a briefing on the coronavirus situation in Sindh.
“Overall ratio of coronavirus positive cases in the province remained 5.9 percent,” the meeting was told. “The worrisome matter is 24 deaths by coronavirus in the province in 24 hours,” the chief minister said.
“Positivity ratio of the tests in Karachi has been 8.34 percent, which was 12.86 pct last week,” he said. “The ratio of positive cases in Hyderabad has also dropped from past week’s 11 percent to 4.42 pct this week,” he added.
“The ratio of coronavirus positive tests in other districts of Sindh remained 3.3 pct,” he added.
Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah appealed for more cooperation and advised the people to get vaccinated to overcome the virus situation in the province.
COVID situation across country: The number of coronavirus cases and deaths continues to go down in Pakistan as the country reported 75 deaths in the last 24 hours.
According to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) data released on Thursday, 75 more people died of the infection, raising the death toll to 20,540.
A total of 62,706 samples were tested, out of which 2,726 turned out to be positive. The positivity ratio of new infections was recorded at 4.34%, the NCOC said.
The number of people recuperating from the infection climbed to 831,744 with 3,901 more recovering in the previous 24 hours.
Thus far, Punjab has reported 337,073 infections, Sindh 313,059, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 131,027, Islamabad 80,779, Balochistan 24,823, Azad Jammu and Kashmir 19,008 and Gilgit Baltistan 5,533.
Vaccine registration for citizens aged 19 years and above also started from Thursday.
Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar tweeted on Wednesday: “In today’s NCOC meeting we decided to open up vaccination registration for all 19 years and above.”