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Russia’s Sputnik COVID-19 vaccine reaches Karachi as Pakistan cases surge

People will be able to purchase it from hospitals

SAMAA | - Posted: Mar 18, 2021 | Last Updated: 9 months ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Mar 18, 2021 | Last Updated: 9 months ago

Vials of Russian Sputnik V vaccine for COVID-19. Photo: AFP

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The Sputnik V vaccine made by Russia reached Karachi early Thursday morning.   The consignment arrived at Jinnah International Airport. Local drug firm AG Pharma Ltd received it. “This is the first shipment of 50,000 doses which came last night only,” said an official of AGP, reported Reuters. “As soon as government notifies its pricing to us, we will make it available at government registered private sector hospitals,” he said. AGP is the only company licensed to import and distribute vaccines for the private sector. The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan has not permitted AGP to sell the vaccines to any hospital or organisation. DRAP will first set a price cap so the vaccine remains affordable. This process can take days or even weeks. Worldwide, Russia’s Sputnik vaccine is priced at $10. It is a two-dose shot that has been approved in 53 countries. The vaccine is 91.6% effective against symptomatic Covid-19, according to results published in The Lancet. Here’s how the vaccine works. The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is also due to arrive in Pakistan in "a few days", said PM'S aide on health Dr Faisal Sultan on SAMAA TV's show Naya Din. It will be provided free of cost through COVAX--the World Health Organisation's vaccine alliance. "We are very actively discussing [availability] with COVAX," Dr Sultan said. Once the shot arrives, it will be easier to start the next phase of vaccination. This will include people between 50 and 60 years. When we've vaccinated a sizeable percentage of older people, we might start vaccinating people below 50 years, Dr Sultan said. The vaccine will be given according to age. The third batch of the Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccine reached Pakistan on Wednesday. It was dispatched to the provinces on the same day, Dr Sultan said. So far we have received 1.5 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine received. Second doses have been reserved for those who received their first dose, said the PM's aide. Dr Sultan clarified that those above 70 years can walk in to any vaccination centre to get the shot but only after they're registered. They will still have to send their CNIC numbers to 1166. But they don't need to wait for the PIN code. People between 60 and 69 still need to wait for their appointment after they've registered on the government's helpline 1166. Thus is being done to prevent rush at vacciation centres, Dr Sultan said. The rate of vaccination in the country is improving, he said, adding that 20,000 to 40,000 doses were being given daily. Earlier, the rate was around 1,000 per day. COVID-19 cases in the country have been going up daily. On Thursday, 3,495 new infections were reported taking the total cases to 615,810. A total of 13,717 deaths and 577,501 recoveries have been recorded. Lockdowns in provinces After a surge in cases, lockdowns have been reimposed in the provinces. In the federal capital, the deputy commissioner imposed a lockdown in sub-sectors F-11/1, I-8/4 and I-10/2 and sub-sectors G-10/4 and G-6/2. The Punjab Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department has imposed a lockdown in 34 neighbourhoods in Sialkot, Rawalpindi and Lahore after new cases of coronavirus were reported. The Sindh government has issued a list of new SOPs to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus in the province. All markets, shopping malls, and wedding halls in the province will be allowed to remain open from 6am to 10pm. The order doesn’t apply to essential services such as petrol pumps, bakeries, pharmacies, medical stores, and hospitals. Here are other instructions issued by the government: Amusement park to close by 6pm.50% employees to work from home.Indoor weddings and other ceremonies banned.Outdoor events allowed with a limit of 300 people.Outdoor dining, takeaway, and delivery at restaurants.Gym, sports complex, cinemas, and theatres closed.
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The Sputnik V vaccine made by Russia reached Karachi early Thursday morning.  

The consignment arrived at Jinnah International Airport. Local drug firm AG Pharma Ltd received it.

“This is the first shipment of 50,000 doses which came last night only,” said an official of AGP, reported Reuters.

“As soon as government notifies its pricing to us, we will make it available at government registered private sector hospitals,” he said.

AGP is the only company licensed to import and distribute vaccines for the private sector.

The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan has not permitted AGP to sell the vaccines to any hospital or organisation. DRAP will first set a price cap so the vaccine remains affordable. This process can take days or even weeks.

Worldwide, Russia’s Sputnik vaccine is priced at $10. It is a two-dose shot that has been approved in 53 countries. The vaccine is 91.6% effective against symptomatic Covid-19, according to results published in The Lancet.

Here’s how the vaccine works.

The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is also due to arrive in Pakistan in “a few days”, said PM’S aide on health Dr Faisal Sultan on SAMAA TV’s show Naya Din.

It will be provided free of cost through COVAX–the World Health Organisation’s vaccine alliance.

“We are very actively discussing [availability] with COVAX,” Dr Sultan said.

Once the shot arrives, it will be easier to start the next phase of vaccination. This will include people between 50 and 60 years.

When we’ve vaccinated a sizeable percentage of older people, we might start vaccinating people below 50 years, Dr Sultan said.

The vaccine will be given according to age.

The third batch of the Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccine reached Pakistan on Wednesday.

It was dispatched to the provinces on the same day, Dr Sultan said.

So far we have received 1.5 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine received. Second doses have been reserved for those who received their first dose, said the PM’s aide.

Dr Sultan clarified that those above 70 years can walk in to any vaccination centre to get the shot but only after they’re registered. They will still have to send their CNIC numbers to 1166. But they don’t need to wait for the PIN code.

People between 60 and 69 still need to wait for their appointment after they’ve registered on the government’s helpline 1166.

Thus is being done to prevent rush at vacciation centres, Dr Sultan said.

The rate of vaccination in the country is improving, he said, adding that 20,000 to 40,000 doses were being given daily.

Earlier, the rate was around 1,000 per day.

COVID-19 cases in the country have been going up daily. On Thursday, 3,495 new infections were reported taking the total cases to 615,810. A total of 13,717 deaths and 577,501 recoveries have been recorded.

Lockdowns in provinces

After a surge in cases, lockdowns have been reimposed in the provinces. In the federal capital, the deputy commissioner imposed a lockdown in sub-sectors F-11/1, I-8/4 and I-10/2 and sub-sectors G-10/4 and G-6/2.

The Punjab Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department has imposed a lockdown in 34 neighbourhoods in Sialkot, Rawalpindi and Lahore after new cases of coronavirus were reported.

The Sindh government has issued a list of new SOPs to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus in the province. All markets, shopping malls, and wedding halls in the province will be allowed to remain open from 6am to 10pm.

The order doesn’t apply to essential services such as petrol pumps, bakeries, pharmacies, medical stores, and hospitals. Here are other instructions issued by the government:

  • Amusement park to close by 6pm.
  • 50% employees to work from home.
  • Indoor weddings and other ceremonies banned.
  • Outdoor events allowed with a limit of 300 people.
  • Outdoor dining, takeaway, and delivery at restaurants.
  • Gym, sports complex, cinemas, and theatres closed.

 
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