Islamabad – Rana Talha Akhtar:
Pakistan may consider administering a third dose of the Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine to some of its elderly population, says the country’s top health official.
In mid-March, the United Arab Emirates began giving a third shot of the Chinese-made Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine to a select few residents, as doctors said that the two-dose vaccine was producing low immunity among a small group of people.
“This is an important fine tuning to their [UAE] programme that they are doing,” Dr Faisal Sultan, the special assistant to the prime minister on health said, “It will be reasonable to sample similarly for us, but at a later stage.”
Dr Sultan said that the vaccination drive in Pakistan was still in the earlier stages of the rollout, which is why for now it is crucial for the country to ensure that the elderly get their first and second dose of the vaccine.
But he also added that the current measures of immunity are partial and imperfect. “Even in trials, the hard end points are disease acquisition and very importantly, serious disease and mortality,” he said.
Pakistan started its coronavirus vaccination campaign on February 2.
In its first phase, it administered the jab only to its healthcare workers. The campaign was later extended to older age groups of 60 years plus and more recently to the 50 years plus population.
When asked what the next step of the drive will be, Dr Sultan said Pakistan will be following an age wise plan, “but some targeted sector wise rollout may be considered – based on risk assessment.”