The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan has granted emergency approval for the administration of Chinese vaccine CoronaVac. This is the fifth vaccine to be approved for use in Pakistan, and the third Chinese vaccine.

Per media reports, the CoronaVac vaccine has a low efficacy rate but has been approved by Pakistani health authorities to curb the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Pakistan.

According to a DRAP official: “DRAP’s registration board in its 304th meeting on Thursday gave Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) to CoronaVac vaccine, developed by the Sinovac Life Sciences Company Ltd., based in Beijing, China.”

The official added that an expert committee had recommended issuing emergency use authorisation for the CoronaVac vaccine, even though its data was unpublished and overall efficacy deemed 56 per cent.

“But in Turkey and Indonesia, the efficacy of CoronaVac has been found to be 91.25 per cent and 85.3 per cent respectively. Besides, it is already being used in China, Turkey, Indonesia, Brazil, and some Middle Eastern countries,” the official added. 

The third wave of the coronavirus has seen a record surge in positive cases since June last year. On April 8, 5,312 people tested positive for COVID-19 while 105 lost their lives, according to the latest statistics released by the National Command and Control Centre (NCOC). As of now, the number of critical COVID-19 cases in Pakistan touches 4,787.

“The DRAP’s registration board allowed CoronaVac vaccine as we desperately need vaccines in Pakistan,” the DRAP official said.

DRAP had earlier approved China’s Sinopharm vaccine, which is being administered to health workers and seniors citizens by the government free of cost. The Sinopharm vaccine’s developers said it is 79.34 per cent effective against COVID-19 based on interim data.

In February, DRAP granted approval for use of the single-dose Chinese CanSinoBIO vaccine, which is currently being administered by the government to senior citizens and will be available privately for all adult citizens. The trials, conducted with AJM Pharma, showed 65.7 per cent efficacy in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 cases and a 90.98 per cent success rate in stopping severe infections.

Meanwhile, the Russian Sputnik V vaccine has started being administered in privately in major cities. The two-dose Russian vaccine was privately procured by AGP Pharmaceuticals, and its cost has been fixed at Rs12,268. This vaccine has an efficacy rate of 96.7 per cent.


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