Stars and Stripes stripes.com 01 Jan, 2021 21:30 am

Pakistanis put faith in Chinese vaccines

Pakistanis put faith in Chinese vaccines
For years, Pakistan's effort to wipe out the wild polio virus has been thwarted by public fears of foreign vaccines. And yet thousands of Pakistanis have volunteered to be test subjects in coronavirus vaccine trials at five urban hospitals.

Pakistani officials said the Chinese manufacturer CanSino Biologics is now offering to provide its vaccine at a favorable cost and distribute it on a "priority basis.Pakistani health officials said this will provide free vaccines for about 20 percent of the country's population but that they will not be available until the fall of 2021.Officials said they are in ongoing discussions with other foreign manufacturers and have not made any final decisions, but that so far they prefer the CanSino vaccine, saying it causes fewer side effects than Western-made vaccines, such as BioNTech-Pfizer's, and can be stored in less extreme cold conditions.Still, even these volunteers, eager to help while Pakistan faces a resurgence of coronavirus cases and a race against time to begin public inoculations, said they had to overcome personal doubts, frightening social media rumors and opposition from their own families.

" "People are spreading lies on social media that the vaccine is bad and can impact fertility," the woman said in a telephone interview.Since September, about 13,000 of 18,000 volunteers have participated in trials for a Chinese vaccine called CanSino.

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