There are no questions about the safety of the Oxford-AstraZeneca option, which was approved for use in the United Kingdom earlier this month, or the need for a vaccine. According to the developers, these drugs have shown an effectiveness of more than 90%, while the AstraZeneca vaccine's average effectiveness was 70%.
It is the first coronavirus vaccine to be approved by a South Asian Country.
That compares with efficacy of around 95% for vaccines developed by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech as well as by Moderna. "What is more important is that it will enable us to acquire the vaccine through Covax as it can not be allowed in the country without Drap's approval", he said.
"It is a fact that countries, which have invested in science, will prefer to manufacture the vaccine for their people, but we will make efforts to acquire it".
Approval has been given to get more than a million doses of Sinopharm's vaccine from China, he said.
This comes after India, which has already approved the AstraZeneca vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII), had started its mass vaccination campaign earlier today. Besides, New Delhi has announced that it will give priority to its own population. "You've heard from epidemiologists, microbiologists and other health experts in recent days that it is important to get the vaccine out across the country".
"Our aim is that the bulk of the population will be covered free", SAPM said, adding that private sectors could also be allowed once supply was available to an authorized company.
A statement released by the ministry said that the special committee had held its second meeting with Minister for Planning Asad Umar in the chair.
The vaccine company's Ad5-nCoV COVID-19 candidate is nearing completion of Phase III clinical trials in Pakistan.
The meeting reviewed the overall situation of COVID-19 vaccines.
A total of 472,099 people have recovered, while there are 33,763 active patients.