India is likely to send 45 million doses of Made-in-India vaccines to Pakistan under an agreement with GAVI alliance. The GAVI Alliance (formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation) is a global health partnership dedicated to providing "immunisation for all".
Of the 45 million, 16 million vaccine doses will be sent by June this year, News18 reported, citing sources.
"India is open to provide any humanitarian help to Pakistan. More vaccine will be given directly. A decision on this will be taken soon," officials said, requesting anonymity.
Pakistan's drug regulator, Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan, approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in January this year. The country plans to vaccinate at least 70 percent of its 220 million people free of cost.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Pakistan on March 8 announced to review relaxation in COVID-19 restrictions to reopen schools and businesses like cinemas and dine-in restaurants, as the country is witnessing a surge in the number of coronavirus cases.
The decision was taken after a meeting of Minister for Planning Asad Umar with the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), the key anti-coronavirus body.
It also discussed deferring the opening up of cinemas, indoor weddings and dine-in restaurants, which were expected to be allowed to open from March 15.
Pakistan has so far reported 592,100 cases and 13,227 deaths, according to the Ministry of National Health Services. The positivity rate stood 4.63 percent.
Meanwhile, India has so far supplied coronavirus vaccines to around 65 countries, including Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Mauritius.
India has so far approved Bharat Biotech's Covaxin and Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield vaccine, being manufactured by Serum Institute of India. India started its COVID-19 vaccination drive in January. The cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in India has crossed 2.40 crore, according to the Union Health Ministry.Click here for Moneycontrol's full coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak