ISLAMABAD – Approval of Russian vaccine for novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Sputnik V, for its emergency use is under-process with Drugs Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) and likely its import will be allowed, The Nation learnt on Monday.
Officials of the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) and DRAP confirmed The Nation that a private pharmaceutical company, Ali Gohar Pharmaceuticals has applied to bring the Russia-based COVID-19 vaccine in the country.
Officials said that the registration of the Russian Vaccine Sputnik V was also discussed in the recently held policy board meeting of the DRAP.
“However, the letter was not issued then and will be issued after completion of documents,” said a senior official of the Ministry of NHS. The official said that the letter of emergency use of the vaccine will be issued soon. The official said that so far only one vaccine is being brought in the country by the government department National Institute of Health (NIH) while two others are being brought by private sector.
United Kingdom-based AstraZeneca vaccine import was applied by Sindh Medical Stores, while Sinopharm was applied by the NIH. Now, the Russian vaccine Sputnik V will be brought by Ali Gohar Pharmaceutical Company in Pakistan. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) DRAP Asim Rauf confirmed the development with The Nation and said that the emergency use certificate will be issued to the private company for the vaccine import after completion of the documents while the approval schedule cannot be given yet.
Director General (DG) NHS Dr. Rana Mohammad Safdar also confirmed that the emergency use of Russian Vaccine is under-process yet and likely to be given. DRAP approved the UK-based AstraZenca and China-based Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine in its meeting held from January 14 to 18. The special cabinet committee on COVID-19 vaccine had also decided to pre-book Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine.
A statement released by the Ministry of NHS had said that the Special Cabinet Committee constituted as an oversight body for procurement of the COVID-19 vaccine has decided to pre-book COVID-19 vaccine from a Chinese state-owned company, Sinopharm, based on data submitted and timely availability.
The statement said that the special committee had held its second meeting with the Minister for Planning Asad Umar in the chair. Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry and Minister for Industries Hammad Azhar are the other members of this committee who attended the meeting.
The Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar and SAPM on Health Dr Faisal Sultan had also attended the meeting on invitation. The meeting reviewed the overall situation of COVID-19 vaccines.
The committee was apprised that a number of countries have pre-booked COVID-19 vaccine based on preliminary or incomplete results in order to ensure the timely availability of vaccines for their populations. In some situations, vaccines were pre-booked even in development stages to ensure availability.