Sindh govt issues clarification, says no assurance given by Saudi envoy for addition of Chinese vaccines to approved list

Published June 4, 2021
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah  meets Saudi Ambassador Nawaf bin Saeed Ahmed Al-Malki at the Chief Minister House on Friday. —CM House photo
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah meets Saudi Ambassador Nawaf bin Saeed Ahmed Al-Malki at the Chief Minister House on Friday. —CM House photo

The Sindh government on Friday issued a clarification, withdrawing its earlier statement about the Saudi envoy's assurance regarding the addition of Chinese-manufactured vaccines to its list of approved shots for visitors to the Kingdom.

Earlier in the day, a statement issued by the Chief Minister House after a meeting of Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah with a delegation led by Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf bin Saeed Ahmed Al-Malki had stated that the former had requested the Saudi government to include Chinese vaccines to its list of approved shots “to enable the maximum number of Pakistanis to perform Haj this year”.

The statement had added that the envoy had assured that the Saudi government would approve the Chinese vaccines.

However, several hours later, the Sindh government issued a clarification, saying "we have taken back/withdrawn the news item of Saudi Arabian Ambassador in which he had assured Sindh chief minister of getting Chinese vaccine approved."

Saudi Arabia is among the few countries that do not recognise vaccination certificates of Chinese vaccines despite the fact that the World Health Organisation has now registered at least two Chinese-manufactured vaccines — Sinopharm and Sinovac.

According to media reports, the vaccines recommended by the Kingdom for use are Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson.

The visiting delegation also comprised a team of doctors from King Salman Medical Complex. The ambassador informed that the doctors would set up medical camps in Karachi and Shikarpur to treat poor patients. The medical team will also conduct eye surgeries and open-heart surgeries.

Haj pilgrims to be administered Pfizer shots

On Thursday, Federal Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Minister Asad Umar said that citizens intending to go for Haj this year, those working abroad on work visas issued by countries that did not recognise vaccination certificates of Chinese vaccines and students planning to go to educational institutions in such countries within a month would be given priority for the administration of Pfizer — an American Covid-19 vaccine brand.

Meanwhile, Special Representative to Prime Minister on Religious Harmony Maulana Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi in a statement on Friday said that Hajj pilgrims would also be vaccinated and the government was taking measures for the purpose. Ashrafi added the religious affairs committee would discuss the matter further when it will receive a list of terms and conditions about Hajj from the Saudi government.

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