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Coronavirus

Pakistan to begin private imports of CanSino COVID-19 vaccine for sale this week

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A private company in Pakistan will begin receiving shipments of China’s CanSino Biologics COVID-19 vaccine this week for commercial sale, an official at the company’s local partner told Reuters on Monday.

Pakistan, one of the first countries in the world to allow private imports of COVID-19 vaccines, has already received a batch of the Russian Sputnik vaccine for commercial sale.

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“We expect the first 10,000 doses to come on March 25, and 100,000 next month and 200,000 the month after,” said Hassan Abbas, an official of AJ Pharma, CanSino’s local partner, which will be importing the vaccine.

Abbas said the commercial name of the vaccine would be “Convidecia”. Five hospitals that took part in clinical trials for the vaccine will be provided the doses for commercial sale, he added.

Pakistan is in the process of vaccinating frontline healthcare workers and citizens over the age of 60 free of charge using Sinopharm doses donated by China.

The commercial administration of vaccines is yet to begin as the government settles pricing issues for the private sector, after reversing its decision to allow uncapped prices.

CanSino Biologics and Pakistan’s Health Minister Faisal Sultan did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Pakistan is in the midst of a sharp rise in COVID-19 infections, and on Saturday reported the highest number of positive cases in day since July last year.

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