Pakistan to get Pfizer’s updated COVID shots

covid shots

ISLAMABAD: In response to the global surge in COVID-19 cases, Pakistan is anticipated to receive 500,000 doses of Pfizer’s new COVID-19 vaccine shots (2023-24 formula) in January 2024.

This move comes as the new JN.1 variant spreads worldwide, prompting officials to prioritize vaccination for high-risk groups, including individuals embarking on the Hajj pilgrimage.

Officials, as reported by The News, have underscored the significance of vaccinating high-risk groups, such as pilgrims, with the updated Pfizer shots.

However, a procedural hurdle awaits, as authorities must obtain a fresh Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap).

This is necessitated by the fact that the newly-developed Pfizer vaccine has only received emergency use authorization from the United States’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA), rather than full approval.

“We are set to receive 200,000 doses of Pfizer’s new COVID-19 vaccine (2023-24 formula) from the US shortly. This updated formula is deemed effective against the currently circulating variants, including Omicron and its sub-variants. Additionally, we expect to acquire 300,000 more doses through COVAX, an international initiative aimed at providing COVID vaccines globally,” shared an official from the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Islamabad.

Punjab records no new Dengue cases in the past 24 hours

As the World Health Organization (WHO) reported a 52 percent increase in new COVID-19 cases during the 28-day period from November 20 to December 17, 2023, concerns about the JN.1 sub-variant of the Omicron variant prompted the WHO to classify it as a Variant of Interest (VOI).

Despite low COVID-19 positivity rates in Pakistan—currently less than 1 percent—NIH officials and provincial health facilities in Lahore and Karachi emphasize the need for the new vaccine to prevent pilgrims from contracting evolving COVID-19 variants.

The NIH official expressed belief that Saudi authorities may require vaccination with the updated Pfizer or other FDA-authorized vaccines for Hajj pilgrims.

Notably, all previously administered vaccines, including Pfizer, Sinopharm, and Sinovac, are expected to be consumed or expired by November 2023. As of now, Pakistan faces a vaccine stock shortage, heightening the urgency to secure the updated Pfizer doses in the coming month.

You May Also Like