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Updated 10 November 2021
The Pfizer vaccine is the most recent addition to Pakistan’s approved vaccine list. The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) granted approval for the use of Pfizer along with six others in Pakistan.
Here are the details on Pfizer/Biontech COVID-19 vaccine; its efficacy, cost and usage in Pakistan.
How does the Pfizer vaccine work?
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has an efficiency rate of over 90 per cent in preventing Covid-19. Producing one batch of the vaccine currently takes around 60 days. This vaccine works by implanting a molecule into cells, known as messenger RNA (mRNA). This mRNA trains cells to make a protein from the virus that causes COVID-19, which is SARS-CoV-2.
The body can distinguish this protein to trigger an immune response. This creates antibodies, as well as longer lasting immunity that can fight off future SARS-CoV-2 infections. The antibodies can then latch onto coronavirus spikes, mark the virus for destruction and prevent infection by blocking the spikes from attaching to other cells. The immune system can then help to protect a vaccinated individual from getting sick with COVID-19 because it’s been “trained” to fight against infections caused by exposure to this coronavirus in the future.
How effective is the Pfizer vaccine?
Studies and clinical trials have proved that the Pfizer vaccine has a high-efficiency level; hence its effectiveness has been consistent across various age groups, races, ethnicities, and other factors, including people who have previously contracted the SARS-CoV-2 infection.
The Pfizer vaccine was more than 95% effective against severe disease or death from the Alpha and the Beta variant in two studies based on real-world vaccinations. An analysis of 46,307 trial participants in Phase 3 clinical trial demonstrated strong protection against COVID-19 through six months, post-second dose.
Researchers also found out that the vaccine provides 93 per cent protection up to 6 months after being administered. The Pfizer vaccine seems to be highly effective against the Delta variant and was still more than 90 per cent effective against it for around 4 months, after which it dropped to just 53 per cent effectiveness at about 5 months after vaccination.
Are there any reported side effects?
Side effects will usually present during the initial 24-48 hours after vaccination. You can manage symptoms such as pain or fever with medicines like paracetamol or ibuprofen. But if your symptoms persist or get worse, you should see your doctor or report to the health facility /1166 helpline.
Some of the most common side effects reported after a Pfizer vaccine dose include:
- Injection site pain/swelling
- Joint aches/pain
- Muscle/body aches
It is advised that you seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Neurological symptoms, including severe and persistent headaches or blurred vision
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Persistent abdominal (belly) pain
- Swelling in your leg
- Tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the site of injection
Pfizer vaccine in Pakistan
Pfizer officials stated that they were in negotiations with Pakistan to provide the mRNA vaccine through a bilateral agreement. The country received the Pfizer vaccine through WHO’s global shared vaccine programme – COVAX. The COVAX program will address the severe phase of the global pandemic by providing prompt, fair, and equitable access to approved vaccines to all participating countries, regardless of income level. It will enable the safety of frontline health care workers, social workers, high-risk and vulnerable groups.
The Pfizer vaccine rollout in Pakistan commenced late in May 2021 with shipments of over 100,000 doses from the United States. Pakistan is set to receive more than 17.2 million doses through the COVAX facility.
Over 100,000 doses of @pfizer #COVID19 vaccine via #COVAX have arrived in Pakistan 🇵🇰. Shipments of @pfizer diluents and syringes will be arriving over the next two days. The vaccines will be used for @GovtofPakistan's ongoing #COVID19 vaccination campaign.@nhsrcofficial pic.twitter.com/Ps4Qmnk1np
— UNICEF Pakistan (@UNICEF_Pakistan) May 28, 2021
Who can get the Pfizer vaccine in Pakistan?
The national COVID-19 immunization program is now open to citizens aged 15 and above. For vaccination of youth below 18, a Child Registration Certificate (B-Form) will be required for registration in the National Immunisation Management System.
Immunocompromised individuals between 12 to 17 years are being vaccinated at selected vaccination centres, and they will need to show their medical records as proof.
Citizens – including children aged 12-18 years
- Regardless of immune status, the general public age group for vaccination is 12 – 18 years.
- Unvaccinated immunocompromised individuals of 12 years and above will be vaccinated with Pfizer vaccine only (free of cost).
- Only Pfizer vaccine will be given to age group 12 to 18 years (free of cost for unvaccinated)
- Child registration certificate (B-Form) number will be used for registration on NIMS.
Vaccination for additional dose for travellers
- The Pfizer vaccine will be administered to youth between 12-18 years (free of cost for unvaccinated).
- For individuals 18 years or older, an additional dose of Pfizer vaccine will be chargeable and can be administered to vaccinated individuals after showing valid travel documents.
Pfizer vaccine registration in Pakistan
Any Individual eligible for the Pfizer vaccine can register themselves for sending their CNIC no to 1166 (free SMS) from any mobile number. They can also visit http://nims.nadra.gov.pk/ and just walk-in to nearest centre for vaccination.
The health staff in charge will then verify their CNIC & PIN Code and confirm entry in NIMS. After taking your vaccine, you will be required to stay for 30 minutes for monitoring.
Find out more about vaccine registration in Pakistan.
Where to get the Pfizer vaccine in Pakistan?
Pfizer vaccine has been made available at all the main vaccination centres in Pakistan.
What is the cost of the Pfizer vaccine in Pakistan?
Pfizer vaccine will be administered free of cost only to the age group of 12 to 18 years. Additional doses will be chargeable. Earlier report from last year indicated that Pfizer vaccine may be on sale for Rs6,000.
For more information on the Pfizer vaccine, you may visit the Pakistan official COVID-19 website. We will update this article as new developments unfold.