By Beenish Maqbool
ISLAMABAD, Apr 04 (APP):The unpredictable hard times and unavoidable damages wreaked by the contagious disease of Covid-19 has brought almost all the developed economies across the globe on its toes who are being faced with numerous challenges to catch up the pace in ensuring immunity to the masses through vaccination.
China amid its hallowing success and might in the field of technological, economic and state-of-the-art medical advancement has once again stunned the entire globe in the field of medicine and microbiology by developing one of the most promising Coronavirus antidotes with above 70 percent efficacy and least encounters of side effects.
The government of China has continued its support to ensure early Covid-19 vaccine availability to Pakistan on priority basis for ensuring successful execution of the latter’s national vaccination programme. China and Pakistan have been working hand in glove to overcome difficulties since the outbreak of the pandemic.
The government of Pakistan has also received the first batch of it’s purchased Chinese Covid-19 vaccines of CanSino and Sinopharm whereas it was provided around one million doses of SinoPharm in two different tranches of half a million doses by the Chinese government.
Talking to APP, Health Ministry Spokesperson Sajid Shah said that the first consignment of 500,000 doses produced by China’s Sinopharm reached the federal capital on February 1 while another batch of 500,000 doses of Sinopharm’s coronavirus vaccine from China reached on March 17 in Pakistan that helped the national immunisation programme across the country.
The vaccination process was initiated nationwide on February 3 for which the government had initially set up 189 adult vaccination centres in Punjab, 14 in Sindh, 280 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 44 in Balochistan, 14 in Islamabad, 25 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and 16 in Gilgit-Baltistan.
Sajid Shah said that the government had launched Covid-19 vaccination for the general public on March 10 while vaccinating its frontline healthcare workers (FLHCWs) followed by senior citizens, particularly people aged 65 years and above in different phases.
The vaccine is being provided to federating units in compliance with all health guidelines. The doses are transported by airplanes to Sindh, Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan to maintain the temperatures and save time, he stated.
In February, the third phase trials of the CanSino vaccine showed that it is 74.8 percent efficient in preventing symptomatic cases of Covid-19 in the country. However, it is the responsibility of the people to strictly adhere to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and get inoculated so that herd immunity is achieved,” he added. He said that China has also donated 7,000 surgical masks to Pakistan through the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr Faisal Sultan along with officials from the health ministry were present at the Nur Khan Airbase to receive the vaccine doses that included 0.5 million doses of Sinopharm and 60,000 doses of CanSino that the Pakistani government purchased from China.
On this support, Dr Faisal Sultan thanked the Chinese government for supporting Pakistan in the fight against the pandemic by ensuring procured vaccine availability on priority. “This consignment is a testament of the friendship between China and Pakistan.” He said that the vaccine has arrived right at the time when Pakistan is grappling with the third wave of Covid-19. He added that the vaccine will be used to inoculate the frontline healthcare workers and the general public to protect them from Covid-19 and will play an important role in saving precious human lives.
He also thanked the Chinese government for gifting two consignments of Sinopharm vaccine which had once again proven its everlasting friendship with Pakistan. Sharing results of the trials in Pakistan on social media, Dr Faisal Sultan said that the Covid-19 vaccine proved 100 percent efficient at preventing severe disease in Pakistan.
He said that the interim analysis by an independent data monitoring committee also said that the vaccine showed 65.7 percent efficacy at preventing symptomatic cases and 90.98 percent at preventing severe disease in multi-country analysis, adding that the committee did not report any safety concerns regarding the vaccine.
The Sinopharm and CanSino vaccines that arrived in Pakistan are the first tranche of doses that Pakistan has purchased. Pakistan expects to receive another shipment of doses of CanSino and Sinopharm vaccine. The long-standing ties between the two countries have been mutually beneficial and the leadership of both countries is committed to taking this relationship forward.
China has always been courteous to Pakistan at a time of need and stood by it through thick and thin with extraordinary commitment and cooperation.