A health worker shows a vial of locally produced Chinese CanSino COVID-19 vaccine in Islamabad, capital of Pakistan on June 1, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan launched the locally produced Chinese CanSino COVID-19 vaccine during a ceremony held on Tuesday at the country’s National Institute of Health (NIH).

Addressing the launching ceremony for the vaccine named “PakVac”, Special Assistant to the Pakistani Prime Minister on Health Faisal Sultan called the local production of the CanSino vaccine a milestone for the country, which will support Pakistan’s fight against COVID-19 by leading the country towards self-sufficiency in terms of COVID-19 vaccine.

Sultan said China is a true friend that always extends a helping hand to Pakistan in tough times, and the cooperation between the two counties in fighting against COVID-19 including vaccine cooperation has set a good example for other countries in the world.

Pakistan’s Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar who is also the chief of the National Command and Operation Center shared results of a locally conducted survey at the ceremony, saying that Chinese vaccines including the CanSino vaccine are the preferred ones in the country due to their superior quality and effective results.

Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong said the vaccine cooperation between China and Pakistan not only effectively contributes to Pakistan’s efforts in fighting COVID-19 by reducing its dependence on vaccine import, but also adds to the efforts of building a global community of health for all.

Calling the local production of the CanSino vaccine a concrete step to implement China’s promise to support its vaccine companies in transferring technologies to other developing countries and carrying out joint production, the Chinese envoy said China will continue to support Pakistan’s fight against COVID-19 until the country fully overcomes the pandemic.

With the technological support from CanSino, the NIH has recently filled and packed over 120,000 doses of the single-dose CanSino vaccine using the bulk vaccine purchased from China, the first time that a COVID-19 vaccine was produced in the South Asian country.

The CanSino vaccine was developed by CanSino Biologics Inc. and the Academy of Military Sciences in China. Earlier, the third phase trials of the vaccine had been conducted in Pakistan and it is the second Chinese COVID-19 vaccine that Pakistan approved for emergency use in the country.