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Reviewed 23 November 2021

The COVID-19 immunization program is steadily progressing in Pakistan. Millions of doses have been administered across the country to date, and the CanSino vaccine is playing a key role in the country’s mass inoculation efforts.

Read more about the CanSino vaccine in Pakistan below.

How does the CanSino vaccine work?

Among the available COVID-19 vaccines currently, there are four distinct types, namely, whole virus (this can again be a weakened form or inactivated coronavirus), protein subunit, nucleic acid (RNA or DNA), and viral vector.

The Convidecia AD5-nCOV vaccine, developed by the Chinese military and Tianjin-based CanSino Biologics, is a single-dose viral vector, suitable for adults over 18 years of age. CanSino’s vaccine uses a modified common cold virus to carry genetic material from the new coronavirus into the human body.

The vaccine is stored and transported in refrigeration at 2-8 degrees Celcius.

The CanSino vaccine is less fussy than the standard two-dose vaccines as it eliminates the need of keeping track of people given the first dose and schedule the second dose accordingly, and also, is far more convenient to store and distribute. This has certainly given it an edge over other front-running vaccines like Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Moderna.

So far, the vaccine has been approved in Pakistan, Chile, China, Hungary, Mexico, Argentina, Ecuador, Indonesia and Malaysia.

How effective is the CanSino Vaccine?

The experimental vaccine was trialled in 6 different countries, namely China, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Russia, with the third phase enrolling 40,000 participants.

The late-stage trials CanSino vaccine demonstrated the efficacy of 65.7% at preventing symptomatic cases. It also proved to be 90.98% effective in preventing severe disease.

These stats may seem bush-league when pitted against Pfizer or Moderna’s. However, it is important to note that CanSino is a one-off vaccine, while the others require two doses. CanSino is more comparable with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which too has an efficacy of about 66%.

Pakistani subset of the trials showed an astounding 100% efficiency at preventing severe disease and 74.8% efficiency at preventing symptomatic cases.

The CanSino is also able to prompt the T-cell response, which is an essential part of the body’s immunity against viruses.

Are there any reported side effects?

The most common adverse reactions after vaccination are fever, redness, swelling and pain in the vaccination site. Usually, a reaction can be relieved by itself within 96 hours, and no special treatment is required.

Individuals with a known history of severe allergic reactions to any component of the vaccine are contraindicated. For individuals with common allergies to pollen with symptoms such as blocked nose, runny nose or rash, it is recommended to avoid getting the COVID-19 vaccine during an ongoing allergic reaction or follow your doctor’s instructions in the case of mild symptoms.

Responding to worries that the analogous Johnson & Johnson vaccine caused blood clotting in women, the CanSino Bio company clarified that “no blood clot-related serious adverse events have been reported in around one million vaccinations of Ad5-nCoV.”


CanSino vaccine in Pakistan

CanSino is one of the five vaccines to be approved in Pakistan, the other four being Sinopharm, CoronaVac, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Sputnik. The vaccine was authorized for emergency use by the Pakistani authorities on 12 February 2021.

Pakistan has also started manufacturing the vaccine locally, under the name PakVac.

Who can get the CanSino vaccine in Pakistan?

The national COVID-19 immunization program is now open to everyone aged 19 and above in Pakistan.

The CanSino vaccine is suitable only for:

  • Individuals who are above 18 years of age
  • Vaccination is recommended for persons with comorbidities that have been identified as increasing the risk of severe COVID-19, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and diabetes
  • Pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding

The following groups should not receive CanSino:

  • Individuals running a fever at the time of coming for vaccination (can be rescheduled after the illness is settled)
  • Patients with active COVID-19
  • Those with mild COVID-19 can receive the vaccine once the isolation period is complete
  • Those with severe COVID-19 can receive the vaccine once they become stable
  • Individuals on short-term immunosuppressive medication should wait for 28 days after the medication ends
  • Those chronically immunosuppressed may receive the vaccine, though efficacy may be lower
  • Those in the post-transplantation phase may receive the vaccine three months after transplantation
  • Those in the post-chemotherapy phase may receive the vaccine 28 days after chemotherapy

Where to get the CanSino Vaccine in Pakistan?

The Pakistani government has set up hundreds of vaccination centres across the country. You can check the full, province-wise list of vaccination centres in Pakistan here.

Remember that some centres are designated only for healthcare workers, so make sure you visit a centre marked ‘citizen’ or ‘both’.

Registering for the jabs

Any eligible Pakistani having an internet connection can register himself for vaccination by signing up on the NIMS website with his mobile number and other personal details.

In case the internet connection is not available, registration can be done by sending the 13-digit Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC), without spaces and dashes, to 1166 via text message.

You’ll receive the registration and appointment details on the registered mobile number.

Healthcare workers who have gotten themselves registered will be intimated about the vaccination centre and date as per schedule.

What is the price of the CanSino vaccine?

The Cansino vaccine is being provided to citizens free of cost by the Pakistani government.