China will provide half a million doses of its Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine as a gift to Pakistan by the end of this month, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Thursday.
"Always great to speak to my friend, His Excellency FM Wang Yi... Pakistan greatly appreciates the 500,000 doses of the vaccine gifted by China," he said in a tweet.
Qureshi added that China has played an instrumental role in Pakistan’s fight against COVID-19 with "technical assistance and medical expertise."
In a separate statement, the foreign minister said his Chinese counterpart has assured that another 1.1 million doses will arrive in Pakistan in February.
The country's drug regulatory authority approved on Monday the Chinese vaccine for emergency use, two days after the vaccine developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca received a similar authorization.
Pakistan has been engaging with a number of vaccine makers, according to adviser of health Faisal Sultan. The federal government has also allowed the private sector and the provinces to procure vaccines on their own, subject to relevant approvals.
Pakistan has so far reported 527,146 COVID-19 cases and 11,157 related deaths.