ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has decided to purchase 1.2 million doses of coronavirus vaccine from Chinese manufacturer Sinopharm, Federal Science Minister Fawad Chaudhry confirmed on Thursday. The cabinet committee has given the go-ahead to procure the Chinese vaccine. Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry disclosed the decision on Twitter, saying that the vaccine “will be provided free of cost to frontline health workers in the first quarter of 2021”. Pakistan will also allow the private pharmaceutical companies to import the vaccines, he added. The country reported 2,475 new infections of the novel coronavirus and 58 deaths from the coronavirus on December 30. The meeting was chaired by Minister for Planning Asad Umar and attended by Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry and Minister for Industries Hammad Azhar. The Special Assistant to PM on Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar and SAPM on Health Dr Faisal Sultan attended the meeting on the invitation. The vaccine is developed by Beijing Biological Products Institute under a subsidiary, China National Biotec Group (CNBG) of state-backed pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm. China’s National Medical Products Administration officially authorised the vaccine on Wednesday, the body’s deputy head Che Shifei said.