Pakistan Approves Russia’s Sputnik-V COVID-19 Vaccine for Emergency Use

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) -
A health worker receives a dose of Sinopharm’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, donated by China, at a vaccination center in Karachi, Pakistan Monday. (Reuters/Akhtar Soomro)

Russia’s Sputnik-V has become the third COVID-19 vaccine to be approved by Pakistan for emergency use after China’s Sinopharm and the one developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, the country’s health minister said on Tuesday.

“Sputnik has received EUA (emergency use authorization,)” Minister Faisal Sultan, told Reuters.

The Russian vaccine is administered in two shots, three weeks apart, has a six-month shelf life and is stored at -18 Celsius.

A fourth vaccine candidate, developed by CanSino Biologics Inc. (CanSinoBIO), has also completed clinical trials in the South Asian nation of 220 million people.

CanSino trials have shown 65.7% efficacy in preventing symptomatic cases and a 90.98% success rate in stopping severe cases of the disease in an interim analysis of global trials, Sultan said on Monday.

He said its efficacy in the Pakistani subset at preventing symptomatic cases was 74.8% and was 100% for preventing severe disease.

CanSinoBio’s single-dose regimen and normal refrigerator storage requirement could make it a favorable option for many countries. Sultan said Pakistan could get shots “in the range of tens of millions” under an agreement with the Chinese firm.