An engineer displaying an experimental vaccine for the COVID-19 that was tested at the Quality Control Laboratory at the Sinovac Biotech facilities in Beijing. Image Credit: AFP

Islamabad: Pakistan’s health officials have given conditional approval for two Chinese COVID-19 vaccines - Sinopharm and Sinovac - to vaccinate young people aged between 12 and 18.

The two new vaccines will also be available in addition to already approved Pfizer for children above 12 years, paving the way for faster vaccine rollout in the country of 220 million.

“Chinese vaccines Sinopharm and Sinovac have been approved by the NCOC Health Experts Committee for administration to children above 12 years of age from November 15 onwards,” said the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), overseeing the pandemic response in the country.

Teenagers younger than 18 began receiving COVID-19 doses last month in Pakistan. Minister Asad Umar, who heads the NCOC, said that over 50 per cent of students between the ages of 12 and 18 have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. As many as 5.5 million teenage people have been vaccinated with the German-American vaccine Pfizer.

Record vaccination

Pakistan this week achieved a new milestone as half of its population eligible for coronavirus vaccine has received at least one dose. On November 9, the country administered record 1.7 million doses in a single day.

COVID-19 update

Coronavirus cases have fallen to their lowest level in Pakistan as 391 new cases were recorded during the last 24 hours on Friday. Pakistan reported 9 coronavirus-related deaths in the last day. In total, Pakistan has reported 1,279,142 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 28,584 total confirmed COVID-related deaths, according to NCOC data. The country of 220 million has administered a 117 million doses as of November 12. At least 47.2 million people are fully vaccinated while nearly 77 million have received one dose of the vaccine.