Pakistan has decided to purchase a Covid-19 vaccine from Chinese state-owned company Sinopharm for emergency use for healthcare workers, the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination said on Thursday.

In a meeting of a Special Cabinet Committee constituted as an oversight body for procurement of the Covid-19 vaccine, it was decided that Pakistan will follow the practice of most of the countries to pre-book the vaccine based on preliminary results in order to ensure its timely availability of the vaccines, Xinhua news agency quoted a Ministry statement as saying.

It was decided that the Pakistani government will provide free Covid-19 vaccine to all frontline health workers in the first quarter of 2021, after procuring it from the Chinese company.

The committee was informed of the deliberations of an expert committee formed by Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) who is in process of reviewing and analysing available data from clinical studies performed so far.

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It was also decided that other manufacturers of Covid-19 vaccine will continue to be engaged in future bookings for the remaining phases of vaccination, based on further data and availability.

The committee reiterated that the private sector will also be encouraged to approach DRAP and follow the laid down procedures for emergency use authorization of any available and safe vaccine.

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