The Claim and Our Verdict
- The claim: A video was shared Nov. 2, 2021, on Facebook, along with the claim that vaccines in Pakistan are all procured from China.
- Eight COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for use in Pakistan— Moderna, Sinopharm, CanSino, Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, PakVac, and SputnikV vaccines—of which the Modena, AstraZeneca, SputnikV, and PakVac vaccines have not yet been manufactured or rolled out in China, and the Chinese government has not purchased these four vaccines, either. Thus, these four vaccines could not have been procured from China.
- Pakistan has obtained COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX (an international cooperative program formed to make sure low- and middle-income countries have fair access to COVID-19 vaccines), other countries’ donations, local manufacture, and other channels. Pakistan’s vaccines come from at least five countries, namely, China, the United States, Switzerland, Sweden, and Norway. Thus, not all are procured from China.
- Our ruling: Therefore, we rate the claim as FALSE.
A video was shared Nov. 2, 2021, on Facebook, along with the claim that vaccines in Pakistan are all procured from China. The caption translates as, “A Chinese guy was asked to jump the queue when waiting to get the jab in Pakistan.”
As of the issuance of this report, the post had been shared 21 times and had received 8 comments and 290 likes or reactions.
According to the COVID-19 vaccination page of the website of Pakistan’s National Command Operation Center (NCOC), there are currently eight COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Pakistan: the Moderna, Sinopharm, CanSino, Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, PakVac, and SputnikV vaccines. The Moderna vaccine was developed by Moderna Inc., a U.S. pharmaceutical and biotech company; the Sinopharm vaccine is manufactured by the Beijing Institute of Biological Products, China National Pharmaceutical Group Corporation; the CanSino vaccine is manufactured by CanSino Biologics Inc.; the Sinovac vaccine is manufactured by Sinovac Biotech; the AstraZeneca vaccine was co-researched and developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca plc.; the Pfizer vaccine was co-developed by BioNTech and Pfizer, and is distributed by Fosun Pharma in the Greater China area; the Pakistan-manufactured CanSino vaccine is branded as PakVac; the SputnikV vaccine was developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Russia.
Currently, China has approved five COVID-19 vaccines, including the Sinopharm, Sinovac, and CanSino vaccines. The Pfizer vaccine is only available in Hong Kong and Macau; the Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines are available in Macau and Hong Kong, respectively. However, as of the issuance of this report, the Moderna, AstraZeneca, SputnikV, and PakVac vaccines have not been manufactured or rolled out in China, nor has the Chinese government purchased any of these vaccines. Thus, these four vaccines available in Pakistan could not have been procured from China.
COVAX is an initiative that aims to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines and to guarantee rapid, fair, and equitable access to them. COVAX is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations; Gavi, a vaccine group; and the World Health Organization (WHO), alongside key delivery partner UNICEF.
Pakistan’s vaccines are procured at least from the following countries:
|The United States||Moderna||2.5 million||July 2, 2021||Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance.|
|Moderna||3 million||July 26, 2021||Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance.|
|Pfizer||3 million||Aug. 26, 2021||UNICEF|
|Pfizer||3.6 million||Oct. 24, 2021||UNICEF’s Twitter account|
|Pfizer||Over 2.3 million||A week before Nov. 15, 2021||UNICEF’s Twitter account|
|Sweden||AstraZeneca||493,000||Oct. 24, 2021||UNICEF’s Twitter account|
|China||Sinovac||2 million||May 23, 2021||Twitter account of NCOC|
In addition, according to the official website of Gavi and the official twitter account of UNICEF, over 1 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines, more than 100,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, 1.2 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and 6.1 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine were delivered to Pakistan via COVAX on May 8, May 28, Jul. 17, and Aug. 11, 2021, respectively. Meanwhile, according to a tweet published Nov. 2, 2021, by Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), 15 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine, 2.6 million of the CanSino vaccine, 1.48 million of the Pfizer vaccine, and 1 million of the SputnikV vaccine arrived in Pakistan between Oct. 29, 2021, and Nov. 2, 2021.
According to the announcement issued by Pakistan’s National Institute of Health and a news article published by Reuters, Pakistan started to manufacture China’s CanSino COVID-19 vaccine, branding it as PakVac, on June 1, 2021. It is estimated that 1 million doses per month are being manufactured. Pakistan signed a deal with CanSinoBio in March 2021 to import a concentrate of the vaccine in bulk to process and package the vaccine locally.
Therefore, we rate the claim as FALSE.
- Facebook post, Nov. 2, 2021
- Pakistan’s NCOC, COVID-19 vaccination.
- Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine.
- FDA, Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine.
- WHO, “Interim recommendations for use of the ChAdOx1-S [recombinant] vaccine against COVID-19 (AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine AZD1222 Vaxzevria™, SII COVISHIELD™),” July 30,2021.
- Pfizer, CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 VACCINE UPDATES.
- BioNTech, “BioNTech and Fosun Pharma form COVID-19 vaccine strategic alliance in China,” March 16, 2020.
- FirstPost, “Russia ‘Sputnik V’ vaccine promises to help people develop immunity against COVID-19 for two years: Here’s all you need to know,” 14, 2020.
- WHO, “WHO lists additional COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use and issues interim policy recommendations,” May 7, 2021.
- WHO, COVID-19 Vaccine (Vero Cell) – CoronaVac.
- CanSinoBIO, Working around the clock to combat COVID.
- Reuters, “Pakistan produces Chinese CanSinoBio COVID vaccine, brands it PakVac,” June 4, 2021.
- National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China, “COVID-19 Vaccine Guideline (1st edition),” March 29, 2021.
- COVID-19 Vaccination Program, About the Vaccines.
- Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Center, Macao SAR, Coronavirus Vaccination Information.
- Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, COVAX explained, Sept. 3, 2020.
- Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, COVAX.
- Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, COVAX vaccine roll-out PAKISTAN.
- UNICEF Pakistan, tweet, July 17, 2021.
- UNICEF, “COVAX delivers first batch of 10 million doses of US-donated Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in Pakistan,” Aug. 26, 2021.
- UNICEF Pakistan, tweet, Oct. 24, 2021.
- UNICEF Pakistan, tweet, Nov. 15, 2021.
- Department of State, tweet, Nov. 15, 2021.
- Pakistan’s NCOC, tweet, May 23, 2021.
- NDMA Pakistan, tweet, Nov. 2, 2021.
- Pakistan’s National Institute of Health, “The launch ceremony of PakVac COVID-19 Vaccine Held at NIH,” June 1, 2021.