China to ‘gift’ 5 lakh doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Pakistan

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday said that China had promised to provide 500,000 doses of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines as a ‘gift’ by the end of the month, reported Dawn

Jan 21, 2021
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Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday said that China had promised to provide 500,000 doses of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines as a ‘gift’ by the end of the month, reported Dawn.

The announcement came following a detailed phone call between Qureshi and his Chinese counterpart Wang Li.

"I want to give the nation the good news that China has promised to immediately provide 500,000 doses of vaccine to Pakistan by January 31," Qureshi said in a video, as quoted in Dawn. He also appraised Li about the total vaccine requirement of Pakistan.

Last week, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan had approved Sinopharm, a COVID-19 vaccine developed by a Chine state-owned company, for emergency use authorization. Prior to that, it also approved the Astra-Zeneca Covid vaccine, locally being manufactured in India.

Qureshi reportedly dialed Li following the direction from Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan who asked him to speed up discussions for vaccine procurement.

Chinese authorities said, as Qureshi mentioned, they can airlift 500,000 vaccines any time as a 'gift.' He said the vaccine arrival would save many thousands of lives in the country. 

Following the direction of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan to speed up the interactions for vaccine supply, Qureshi called Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Li.

Pakistan remained the only country that didn’t feature in India’s “VaccineMatri” program- a plan under which neighboring countries are being provided vaccines as grant assistance.

Though Pakistan cleared AstraZeneca--manufactured under Covishield brand name by Serum Institute in India- it, however, has not approached India for vaccines, media reports indicated. It is hoping to acquire it indirectly through the Covax alliance.

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