ISLAMABAD - The National Institute of Health (NIH) on Tuesday started formulating and packing of the China-based novel coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine locally after transfer of technology from China and named the vaccine as PakVac. 

The CanSino vaccine trials were also conducted in Pakistan in collaboration with China and a single shot anti-COVID-19 vaccine is being administered to the population aged above 70 in the country. 

Officials at NIH said that raw material was imported from China in vials containing an in-activated virus and NIH researchers formulated it into a vaccine and filled it. 

NIH officials said the vaccine was also compressed here to give it a finish form and in the first phase 1,24000 doses of vaccine have been prepared with the help of Chinese scientists. 

Officials said the second tranche of the local production of CanSino vaccine would be prepared by the Pakistani scientists and researchers. 

Officials further said the vaccine in trials was found safe and NIH would soon apply with the Drugs Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) for its emergency use authorisation. 

The government statement issued on social media said, “Pakistan has started production of China’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine CanSino at the National Institute of Health (NIH) plant. This facility will produce 3 million doses per month and as a result, significantly reduce Pakistan’s dependence on importing vaccines from other countries.”

According to the master plan of vaccination roll-out in the country the government had reached an agreement with CanSino Bio regarding shared production of the vaccine. 

It said that three million concentrates would be imported initially, and NIH would formulate, sterilise and pack imported material locally. 

Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on National Health Services (NHS) Dr. Faisl Sultan declared the successful filling and finishing of CanSino Bio an important step in the vaccine supply line.

The spokesperson of ministry of NHS Sajid Hussain Shah said that the government was taking special measures to protect the people from COVID-19 and ensuring implementation of vaccination plans across the country.

He said the public was being vaccinated at vaccination centres across the country and vaccination centres had been set up in Islamabad including a mass vaccination centre in F-9 Park.