(CTN News) – According to a report by The News, Pakistan is expected to receive 500,000 doses of Pfizer’s new COVID-19 vaccine (2023-24 formula) in January 2024.
This comes at a time when there is a global surge in cases due to the spread of the new JN.1 variant. These doses will be primarily used to vaccinate high-risk groups, including pilgrims before their Hajj pilgrimage.
However, before administering the newly-developed vaccine in Pakistan, the authorities need to obtain a fresh Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap).
It is important to note that although the Pfizer vaccine has been authorized for emergency use by the United States’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it has not yet been approved or licensed by them.
In addition to the 200,000 doses of Pfizer’s new COVID-19 vaccine that Pakistan will receive from the US, they will also obtain 300,000 more doses from COVAX, an international initiative aimed at providing vaccines to people worldwide.
An official from the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Islamabad confirmed this information to The News.
The WHO reported a 52% increase in new COVID-19 cases from November 20 to December 17, 2023. Over 850,000 new cases were reported during this time. The JN.1 sub-variant of the Omicron variant was declared a Variant of Interest by the WHO
. However, Pakistani officials have not detected this sub-variant in the country and the COVID-19 positivity rate is less than 1%. They emphasize the need for a new vaccine to protect pilgrims.
Pakistani authorities may need to acquire Emergency Use Authorization for Pfizer’s new vaccine from the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan, as it has not yet been approved by the FDA.
Pfizer has announced that its Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine (2023-2024 Formula) has received emergency use authorization from the FDA to prevent COVID-19.
This authorization covers individuals between the ages of six months and 11 years. In Pakistan, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) accepts the FDA’s emergency use authorization. To obtain the vaccine, DRAP requires a formal request along with the FDA certification.
This request can be submitted by the National Institute of Health (NIH), the Federal Directorate of Immunisation (FDI), Pfizer’s local representative, or an authorized supplier. The official also mentioned that a vaccine suitable for children in this age group would also be effective for adults.
However, it is important to note that individuals below the age of 12 have a developing immune system, making their age group more sensitive.