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Winters may worsen coronavirus situation in Pakistan: SAPM

Says enrolment of vaccine trial to end soon

SAMAA | - Posted: Dec 17, 2020 | Last Updated: 1 year ago
Posted: Dec 17, 2020 | Last Updated: 1 year ago

More than 12,000 participants in the country have enroled in the clinical trials of China’s CanSino vaccine and enrolment will stop in the coming weeks, says Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan.

We will probably begin the analysis to check the efficacy of the vaccine in a few weeks’ time, the SAPM said Thursday on SAMAA TV’s morning show Naya Din.

The trial in Pakistan has to enrol a total of 18,000 volunteers. It is ongoing and no adverse effects have been reported so far.

Dr Sultan confirmed that the government was in talks with more than one source to procure the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We are hopeful that the vaccine will be available in Pakistan in the second quarter of the next year,” said the SAPM, adding that frontline health workers would receive it first.

We will not stop any private entrant that wants to apply for the vaccine, said Dr Sultan.

“When there is a new medicine, there is a way to register it through DRAP. When it is registered, the proof is given, the price is set and then it becomes available.”

But we need to see how the manufacturers have applied. No one has applied so far, as far as I know, said the SAPM.

The cold weather might worsen the COVID-19 situation, warned Dr Sultan.

When it gets cold, people huddle up and stay close to keep warm and windows are closed which stops the ventilation.

“I think that the cold is going to work against us,” he said. “But if we take precautions, we can slow it down.”

We need to take extra precautions as 2,500 to 3,000 new cases are being diagnosed every day, he said. The country’s positivity rate stands at seven or eight percent.

He said Karachi had a higher positivity rate compared to the rest of the country and it was necessary to be stricter with SOPs monitoring.

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