The Health Ministry has decided to start large-scale manufacturing of PakVac, Pakistan’s first locally-packaged single-dose COVID-19 vaccine.
The development follows last week’s reports which claimed that a number of Mass Vaccination Centers (MVCs) in different parts of the country were shut down due to an acute shortage of Coronavirus vaccines.
According to details, the mass production of PakVac will commence from next month and the National Institute of Health (NIH) will produce 3 million doses each month.
The manufacturing of 3 million doses each month will significantly reduce Pakistan’s dependence on imported COVID-19 vaccines and ensure sufficient availability of the Coronavirus vaccine.
Last month, NIH started indigenous manufacturing of the COVID-19 vaccine originally developed by a Chinese firm, CanSinoBIO, after its raw material reached Pakistan from China.
The first batch of the single-dose PakVac vaccine consisting of 124,000 doses was developed at the NIH with assistance from Chinese scientists. NIH is now the sole manufacturer of the CanSinoBIO’s COVID-19 vaccine.
Also known as Ad5-nCoV, CanSinoBIO developed the Coronavirus vaccine in collaboration with the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology and tested it in large-scale phase-III clinical trials that were held in five countries, including Pakistan, in which more than 40,000 volunteers participated.
Results of trials were published in February this year which confirmed that the CanSinoBIO vaccine was 65% effective at preventing symptomatic cases and 91% effective at preventing severe infection. As for the Pakistani subset, the vaccine offered 75% protection against symptomatic cases and 100% protection against severe infection.
DRAP had granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to CanSinoBIO’s COVID-19 vaccine in February as well because no serious safety concerns and side-effects of the CanSinoBIO vaccine were reported during the multination clinical trials.