Pakistan President, Like Prime Minister, Infected with Coronavirus After Chinese Vaccine

Pakistan's President Arif Alvi (R) delivers a speech during the military parade to mark Pakistan's National Day in Islamabad on March 25, 2021. (Photo by Aamir QURESHI / AFP) (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)

Pakistani President Arif Alvi contracted the Chinese coronavirus two weeks after receiving his first dose of a coronavirus vaccine candidate developed by the state-run China National Pharmaceutical Group, also known as Sinopharm, authorities confirmed on Tuesday.

“I have tested positive for Covid-19 [Chinese coronavirus]. May Allah have mercy on all Covid affectees. Had 1st dose of vaccine but antibodies start developing after 2nd dose that was due in a week,” President Alvi wrote in a statement posted to his official Twitter account on March 29.

Pakistani First Lady Samina Alvi later shared that President Alvi had presented “mild symptoms” of the Chinese coronavirus but was in “good spirits.”

“We had our vaccine 1st dose done but it takes time to build immunity,” she wrote in a statement posted to her Twitter account.

President Alvi and his wife Samina received their first doses of Sinopharm together in Islamabad on March 15. The vaccinations were broadcast live on state TV as part of Pakistan’s efforts to promote coronavirus vaccination within the country.

“I think the vaccine gives further protection but we will have to take precautions of wearing masks, washing hands, and social distancing unless the world fully overcomes the pandemic,” President Alvi told reporters after receiving a dose of Sinopharm.

News that President Alvi contracted the Chinese coronavirus comes just over a week after Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan also tested positive for the virus on March 20. Khan received his first dose of Sinopharm two days before testing positive for the Chinese coronavirus.

“No detailed efficacy data of Sinopharm’s COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] vaccine has been publicly released,” Reuters noted on March 31. “Beijing Biological Products Institute, a unit of Sinopharm subsidiary China National Biotec Group (CNBG), said the vaccine was 79.34 percent effective in preventing people from developing the disease based on interim data. It has been approved in several countries including China, Pakistan and the UAE.”

China National Pharmaceutical Group recently presented the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) with new data on Sinopharm during a closed-door meeting with the W.H.O.’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (S.A.G.E.).

“The information that the companies shared publicly at the (S.A.G.E.) meeting last week clearly indicates that they have levels of efficacy that would be compatible with the requirements that W.H.O. has asked for this vaccine,” S.A.G.E. chair Alejandro Cravioto told reporters at a press briefing in Geneva on March 31. “That means about 50 percent (efficacy) and preferably close to or above 70 percent.”

“The vaccines would first require emergency use listing from the W.H.O. or from what the agency considers to be a stringent regulatory authority before S.A.G.E. experts can make recommendations about their use,” Cravioto said, adding that S.A.G.E. hopes to issue recommendations on Sinopharm by the end of April.


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