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Updated 30 July 2021
The COVID-19 vaccination program is steadily progressing in Pakistan. Millions of doses have been administered across the country to date, and the Sinovac vaccine is playing a key role in the country’s mass inoculation efforts.
Read more about the Sinovac vaccine in Pakistan below.
How does the Sinovac 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.
Developed by the Chinese company Sinovac Biotech, CoronaVac, popularly known as Sinovac in Pakistan, is an inactivated COVID-19 vaccine. In simple terms, this means that the Sinovac vaccine is made from viral particles produced in a lab and then inactivated. In an inactivated state, the injected virus will not pose a threat as they are no longer capable of infecting an individual with COVID-19. The Sinovac vaccine contains proteins capable of stimulating the immune system to produce antibodies to fight COVID-19.
WHO has recommended the Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine for use in adults 18 years and older, in a two-dose schedule with a spacing of two to four weeks.
How effective is the Sinovac Vaccine?
The scarcity and unreliability of the available scientific data for Chinese vaccines combined with the absence of peer-reviewed publications have pinpointed the efficacy rate of the Sinovac vaccine somewhat problematic.
On January 13, 2021, China-based Sinovac Biotech reported that its COVID-19 vaccine had a 50.38% efficacy in late-stage clinical trials in Brazil. The company’s clinical trials are demonstrating dramatically varying efficacy rates.
In Indonesia, a local trial demonstrated an efficacy rate of 65%, but the trial had only 1,620 participants. Turkey reported an efficacy rate of 91.25% in December 2020. Another trial in Brazil, run by Butantan Institute, reported a 78% efficacy rate in mild cases while 100% against severe and moderate infections.
As of mid-July 2021, WHO studies showed the Sinovac vaccine prevented symptomatic disease in 51% of those vaccinated and prevented severe COVID-19 and hospitalization in 100% of the studied population for adults aged 18 and older.
Are there any reported side effects?
According to the grading standard of adverse reaction incidence from the Council for International Organisations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS), all adverse reactions for Sinovac are summarised and described as follows:
Local adverse reaction at injection site
- Very common: pain
- Common: swelling, pruritus, erythema, induration
- Uncommon: burn at the injection site
Systemic adverse reactions
- Very common: headache, fatigue
- Common: myalgia, nausea, diarrhea, arthralgia, cough, chills, pruritus, loss of appetite, rhinorrhea, sore throat, nasal congestion, abdominal pain
- Uncommon: vomiting, hypersensitivity, fever, tremor, flushing, edema, dizziness, drowsiness
Sinovac vaccine in Pakistan
Sinovac is one of the five vaccines to be approved in Pakistan, the other four being Sinopharm, CanSino, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Sputnik. The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) had approved China’s Sinovac vaccine against the virus for emergency use on 10 April 2021.
Who can get the Sinovac vaccine in Pakistan?
The national COVID-19 immunization program is now open to everyone aged 19 and above in Pakistan.
The Sinovac 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 Sinovac:
- Individuals who are below 18 years of age. The safety and efficacy of Sinovac in children and adolescents below 18 have yet to be established
- People with history of allergic reaction to Sinovac or other inactivated vaccine, or any component of Sinovac (active or inactive ingredients, or any material used in the process)
- Previous severe allergic reactions to the vaccine (e.g. acute anaphylaxis, angioedema, dyspnea, etc.)
- People with severe neurological conditions (e.g. transverse myelitis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, demyelinating diseases, etc.)
Where to get the Sinovac 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 designates 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 themselves 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 Sinovac vaccine?
The Sinovac vaccine is being provided to citizens free of cost by the Pakistani government.