Chairman Dr Atta-ur-Rehman on Tuesday said the Pfizer vaccine, celebrated worldwide for its reported 90 per cent efficacy, was not suitable for Pakistan.
Prime Minister’s Taskforce on Science and Technology Chairman Dr Atta-ur-Rehman on Tuesday said the Pfizer vaccine, celebrated worldwide for its reported 90 per cent efficacy, was not suitable for Pakistan due to its sub-zero storage requirements.
“This vaccine is not suitable for Pakistan in my opinion,” Dr Rehman said in a conversation with Geo Pakistan. Explaining his reasoning, he said the vaccine needs to be kept at -80 °C temperature, which in his view is a major problem for developing countries like Pakistan, who lack the “cold chain” necessary to transport the vaccine in such temperatures from the point of origin to the hospitals.
Unlike the Pfizer vaccine, Chinese vaccines — two of which are undergoing clinical trials in Pakistan, can be transported in “normal temperatures”, which he believes makes it “better suited for Pakistan and third-world countries”
A day earlier, large-scale trials of a vaccine candidate produced by Pfizer and BioNTech found that it was 90 per cent effective in preventing coronavirus. On Tuesday, science and technology minister Fawad Chaudhry urged the United Nations to discourage any effort to “monopolise” the Pfizer vaccine and ensure its availability for poor countries as well. He was speaking at the World Science Day for Peace and Development event organised by Unesco.
As the Pfizer vaccine raised hopes of a return to normalcy, Pakistan’s active coronavirus infections breached 20,000 after 1,637 new infections were confirmed in a 24-hour-period, according to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC). Twenty-three Covid patients died in the same period, taking the death toll to 7,000. At least 1,181 patients are admitted in hospitals across the country, 177 of who are on ventilator.
On Tuesday, one frontline doctor passed away of coronavirus in Mansehra district. So far, 21 doctors have died of coronavirus in Khyber Pakhtunkwa. The Provincial Doctors Association said Dr Bashir, former deputy medical superintendent of King Abdullah Teaching Hospital was ill for several days due to coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at a hospital in Mansehra.
The doctors’ association in a statement said the provincial government had yet to release the martyrs package for healthcare practitioners who died of coronavirus.
Meanwhile, more areas across the country came under smart lockdowns in Punjab, with authorities in Rawalpindi and Multan imposing targeted curbs in virus hotspots “in the larger public interest”.
In Sindh’s Hyderabad city — which the NCOC identified as having the highest positivity rate in the country a day earlier — saw one hotel sealed and fines imposed on shops for flouting government guidelines.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, coronavirus forced the closure the University of Haripur in the Hazara Division, which joined other schools and colleges that were closed over virus concerns. State media reported dozens of educational institutions being closed and sealed owing to coronavirus positive cases.
Authorities in Haripur and Mansehra imposed Section 144 for 30 days, to enforce social distancing and the wearing of face masks.
Originally published at The News