Pakistan International Airlines transported another tranche of 1 million doses of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine from Beijing to Islamabad. Image Credit: Supplied

Islamabad: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) transported another tranche of 1 million doses of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines from Beijing to Islamabad.

To ramp up the vaccination drive amid the third wave of virus, “More PIA flights are expected to airlift several consignments of COVID-19 vaccines procured from China by the end of May”, Qadir Bux Sangi, PIA country manager for China, said.

The May 16 shipment comes after Pakistan last week procured one million doses of Sinovac vaccine and received the 1.2 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses from the COVAX facility.

Pakistan has so far received approximately 11 million doses of different vaccines. The five approved vaccines include Sinopharm, CanSino, Sinovac, Sputnik V and AstraZeneca.

3.8 million vaccinated

The country of 220 million people has administered more than 3.8 million vaccine doses since the shots began rolling out in February. Nearly 1 million people have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of May 17, as per official stats. Pakistan government opened vaccine registration for those 30 and above from May 16.

Pakistan decided to ease restrictions on transportation and commercial activities imposed on Eid holidays as the country reported a decline in daily new infections to 3,200 cases on May 16 after averaging 5,000 cases every day during the past weeks.

Sinovac vaccine

Sinovac, branded as CoronaVac in some regions, is developed by a Beijing-based biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech Ltd. Sinovac’s vaccine contains inactivated or dead versions of the SARS-CoV-2 virus which works by helping the body’s immune system make antibodies against the coronavirus.

The vaccine is approved for use in several countries and shots are being administered in China, Turkey, Indonesia and Brazil. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) emergency approval to the first Chinese vaccine Sinopharm has raised hopes for authorization of Sinovac which is currently by reviewed by the European Union’s medicines regulator to assess its effectiveness and safety.

Sinovac facts
· The vaccine is recommended for persons above 18 years of age
· It can be stored in a standard refrigerator at 2-8 degrees Celsius
· The vaccine requires two doses given 28 days apart
· Efficacy rates varied between 50 and 90 percent in different studies.