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Pakistan Set to Receive New COVID-19 Vaccine from Pfizer

In a critical step to combat the challenges posed by the evolving COVID-19 variants, Pakistan is gearing up to receive a significant shipment of Pfizer’s latest COVID-19 vaccine, formulated for the 2023-24 period. With the world on high alert due to the emergence of the new variant, this development brings hope and strategic planning to address the ongoing pandemic.

According to officials, more than 500,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine are anticipated to arrive in Pakistan this month. The primary focus for these doses will be to vaccinate high-risk groups, with a special emphasis on Hajj pilgrims. This targeted approach aligns with global efforts to protect vulnerable populations and curb the spread of the virus during mass gatherings.

However, a crucial regulatory step precedes the deployment of the vaccine in Pakistan. Health authorities are required to secure a new Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) before administering the Pfizer vaccine. This is imperative as the updated formula is yet to receive full approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It’s worth noting that the FDA has granted specific authorization for emergency use, highlighting the urgency in the face of the evolving pandemic landscape.

Officials revealed that Pakistan is expected to receive 200,000 doses of Pfizer’s new COVID-19 vaccine directly from the United States in the coming days. The updated formula is designed to demonstrate efficacy against the currently circulating variants, offering a potential defense against the highly transmissible Omicron variant and its sub-variants.

In a collaborative effort, COVAX, an international initiative committed to providing equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide, is also set to contribute to Pakistan’s vaccination efforts. The initiative is anticipated to deliver an additional 300,000 doses, further strengthening the country’s vaccine supply.

Despite Pakistan not reporting any cases of the JN.1 sub-variant, health authorities are proactively planning to vaccinate pilgrims as a preventive measure. This strategic approach aims to safeguard pilgrims from potential exposure to new COVID-19 variants, reinforcing the importance of vaccination in the face of the evolving virus.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) official expressed confidence in the effectiveness of the updated Pfizer vaccine, emphasizing its potential to provide a robust defense against the existing and emerging variants. As Pakistan navigates the complexities of the pandemic, this influx of Pfizer’s latest vaccine represents a significant stride towards achieving widespread immunity and mitigating the impact of the evolving global health crisis. Stay tuned for further updates on this crucial development in Pakistan’s ongoing efforts to combat COVID-19.

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