As the world grapples with the new COVID-19 variant, Pakistan is expected to receive more than 500,000 doses of Pfizer’s new COVID-19 vaccine (2023-24 formula) this month.
Officials told a national daily that these doses are earmarked for vaccinating high-risk groups, particularly the Hajj pilgrims.
However, health authorities must obtain a new Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) from the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) before using the vaccine. This is necessary as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet approved the newly-developed Pfizer vaccine.
Officials added that its authorization from the FDA is specifically for emergency use.
An official of the National Institute of Health told the national daily that Pakistan will be getting 200,000 doses of Pfizer’s new COVID-19 vaccine (2023-24 formula) from the US in the next few days.
He added that the updated formula has demonstrated effectiveness against the currently circulating variants, including Omicron and its sub-variants.
Additionally, COVAX, an international initiative to provide COVID-19 vaccines to people around the world, is also expected to provide 300,000 doses to Pakistan.
Although Pakistan hasn’t reported any cases of the JN.1 sub-variant, health authorities plan to vaccinate pilgrims to prevent them from contracting new COVID-19 variants.