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First batch of Russian coronavirus vaccine arrives in Pakistan

First batch of Russian coronavirus vaccine arrives in Pakistan

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The first batch of privately-imported Russian COVID-19 vaccine, (Sputnik V) comprising of 50,000 doses, arrived at the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi on Wednesday night. 

Health department officials said the vaccine will be given to major hospitals and medical institutions. 

“I congratulate AGP Limited for receiving the first batch of Sputnik V vaccine comprising 50,000 doses. From now onwards, shipments of this highly effective COVID-19 vaccine will be delivered to Pakistan at regular intervals and help the country fight the pandemic”, Russian trade representative in Karachi Ruslan Aliev told The News while handing over the ship to AGP Limited officials. 

The double-dose Sputnik V has become the first COVID-19 vaccine now available in Pakistan in the private sector as earlier the country was relying on the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine, which is being donated to the Pakistan government by Chinese authorities to vaccinate its frontline healthcare workers and elderly population. 

Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) had granted emergency use authorisation to the Russian COVID-19 vaccine in the last week of January, 2021. 

Officials of the private firm importing the Sputnik vaccine said they have initially procured 50,000 doses which can vaccinate 25,000 adults. Around 150,000 more doses of the vaccine are expected to reach Pakistan by the end of this week. 

Sputnik vaccine cost: The private firm cannot sell the Sputnik vaccine to hospitals and institutions yet. DRAP officials said they have to wait for the government to fix the price of the vaccine, which could take a few days or even some weeks. 

Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho had said Russians had quoted $26-$28 for two doses of the Sputnik vaccine to the Sindh government.

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