Russian COVID-19 vaccine ‘Sputnik V’ arrived in Pakistan
The first shipment of the privately imported Russian COVID-19 vaccine, or Sputnik V, comprising 50,000 doses, arrived in Pakistan. The vaccines will be available for commercial sale for those who can afford to pay.
Pakistan is one of the first countries to allow the private sector to import and sell COVID-19 vaccines. It has also exempted them from price caps, which have raised concerns about access inequality. Experts say this move could lead to disparity under an already fragile health care system and expensive private health care facilities.
Health Minister Faisal Sultan said that even as the government is focusing on vaccinating the population for free, a small population group can afford to pay for the vaccine from the private importers in the market. “With the availability of the different types of vaccine in the market in March, the competition will set the prices,” he told.
Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine gives around 92% protection against Covid-19, late stage trial results published in The Lancet reveal.
It has also been deemed to be safe – and offer complete protection against hospitalisation and death.
The vaccine was initially met with some controversy after being rolled out before the final trial data had been released.
But scientists said its benefit has now been demonstrated.
It joins the ranks of proven vaccines alongside Pfizer, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Moderna and Janssen.