The Sindh government plans to order 10 million doses of Chinese company Cansino Biologics' Covid-19 vaccine, it emerged on Friday.
Sindh government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab made the announcement on Twitter along with a picture of the letter the provincial health department wrote to AJM Pharma which is the representative company for the Chinese vaccine in Pakistan.
The letter by the Sindh Health Department dated April 2 and addressed to the commercial manager of AJM Pharma stated:
"I (health secretary) am directed to communicate that ten (10) million doses of Cansino Bio Covid-19 Vaccine may be booked as advanced booking of vaccine. The schedule of delivery along with the prices for pre-filled vials and in bulk quantity may be shared with the department for further process at our end."
However, the department said that the "letter of intent" was not the final agreement but served as a "letter for advanced booking" instead.
"The final Purchase Agreement will be signed between Health Department and Official Distributor of Cansino Biologics, China in Pakistan," it added.
Earlier this week, Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho said the provincial government would buy Cansino's coronavirus vaccines directly from China after the federal government allowed provinces to purchase jabs independently.
She shared that Rs500m had been allocated by the Sindh government for the purchase of the single-dose vaccine.
Overall vaccine doses
This week, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Faisal Sultan said that 0.5 million purchased doses of China's Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine had been received with an additional 0.5m doses scheduled to arrive the next day. Pakistan would have possession of one million purchased vaccine doses in total with these two consignments, said SAPM Sultan, adding that millions of doses of purchased Covid-19 vaccine would continue to come in the following weeks and months.
"In the coming months in April, May and June, orders for millions of doses are being finalised and they will keep coming. Then our vaccination process will keep moving forward."
The first batch of vaccines, brought to Pakistan via a Pakistan Air Force aircraft on February 1, had contained 0.5m doses of Sinopharm vaccine gifted by China.
China donated another consignment of 0.5m doses on March 17.
That was also when the first consignment of the privately imported Russian Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine arrived in Karachi. The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan in January 2021 had given a go-ahead to a local pharmaceutical firm, AGP, to import and distribute the Russian-developed Sputnik V.