Add news
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010June 2010July 2010
August 2010
September 2010October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011March 2011April 2011May 2011June 2011July 2011August 2011September 2011October 2011November 2011December 2011January 2012February 2012March 2012April 2012May 2012June 2012July 2012August 2012September 2012October 2012November 2012December 2012January 2013February 2013March 2013April 2013May 2013June 2013July 2013August 2013September 2013October 2013November 2013December 2013January 2014February 2014March 2014April 2014May 2014June 2014July 2014August 2014September 2014October 2014November 2014December 2014January 2015February 2015March 2015April 2015May 2015June 2015July 2015August 2015September 2015October 2015November 2015December 2015January 2016February 2016March 2016April 2016May 2016June 2016July 2016August 2016September 2016October 2016November 2016December 2016January 2017February 2017March 2017April 2017May 2017June 2017July 2017August 2017September 2017October 2017November 2017December 2017January 2018February 2018March 2018April 2018May 2018June 2018July 2018August 2018September 2018October 2018November 2018December 2018January 2019February 2019March 2019April 2019May 2019June 2019July 2019August 2019September 2019October 2019November 2019December 2019January 2020February 2020March 2020April 2020May 2020June 2020July 2020August 2020September 2020October 2020November 2020December 2020January 2021
News Every Day |

Coronavirus: Pakistan’s efforts to procure vaccine will cover just 20pc population

Coronavirus: Pakistan’s efforts to procure vaccine will cover just 20pc population

LAHORE: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s federal government seems least bothered about the protection of its 220 million population as it has made arrangements to procure just 1.1 million coronavirus vaccine doses from a Chinese company and that too for frontline workers and vulnerable population.

Each human being will be requiring two doses to acquire immunity against coronavirus for a period yet unknown to the world.

While many world nations are actively looking to get coronavirus vaccine doses to make their population immune against the virus, Pakistan is waiting for the United Nation’s Covax mechanism to receive around 45 million free vaccine doses that will cover country’s 20 per cent population.

Pakistan is a member of the 189-nation forum for which the WHO and GAVI’s Covax management system plans equitable distribution of vaccine free of cost.

Colombia for example has already struck deals with the Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Astra Zeneca to procure some 29 million doses for its 50 million population. It will also be getting at least 10 million doses under the Covax management to cover its 80 per cent population.

Similarly, Bangladesh has reached deals to get 30 million doses of Indian-made Astra Zeneca, Turkey has procured three million doses and expects another 50 million by the end of February.

Malaysia has procured 12.8 million Pfizer and 6.4 million Astra Zeneca doses to cover its 40 per cent population and is close to finalising a deal with China to cover its entire population. Indonesia purchased three million doses and making available raw material to develop some 45 million doses at home.

India has invested in the research and development of coronavirus vaccine to produce 100 million doses per month till March and then 300 million doses every month beside around 50 million doses already produced.

At a time when health experts are already calling the coronavirus pandemic as “Pandemic Third World War”, the Pakistan government has apparently absolved itself of this vital responsibility and allowed the private sector players to procure vaccine from anywhere in the world, get registered with the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) and sell to those who can afford. Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan asserts that just like other countries, “population (essentially adult population) required to be covered, will be covered”.

Answering a question about procuring just 1.1 million vaccine doses, Dr Sultan said the Pakistan government had decided to procure vaccine in a graduated fashion, adding global supply lines and efficacy of respective vaccines was not yet clear.

Stating that Pakistan had around 100 million targeted adult population, he said the country was just completing the clinical trials of Covid-19 vaccine developed by Canada-based Chinese company Cansino Bio. He said after getting sound efficacy results, the government would order procuring substantial amount of vaccine. Initially, he said, the government had allocated US$150 million which could be doubled and even more, when there would be clarity about vaccine efficacy and availability.

Dr Sultan said the Sinopharm vaccine would start reaching the country by the end of this month or early next month. “The vaccines will be procured until the entire eligible population is vaccinated,” he said and added that it would be unfair to compare Pakistan with other countries global numbers’ estimates.

He hoped that the vaccine under the Covax management system would also be reaching here by the end of this month or early next month.

Answering a question about allowing the private sector to procure vaccine, the SAPM said the government had neither asked the private sector nor stopped it from doing so. “We have no dependency on the private sector as only three to four per cent population may go to the private sector,” he said.

About the price, he said, the Pakistan government had committed with the Chinese company that vaccine price would not be disclosed because China was offering it to Pakistan at much lower rate.

Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry on National Health Services Dr Nausheen Hamid says the federal government expects more avenues will open with regard to availability of vaccine and a bit of information about vaccines’ efficacy by the end of March.

“One must keep in mind that it takes six to eight years to develop a reliable vaccine and currently available vaccines have been developed in just six to eight months. The efficacy of any vaccine produced worldwide needs to be monitored for at least a year to say anything with conviction,” she said.

Dr Hamid says the federal government has also engaged a couple of other international companies to procure more vaccine. She says the federal government has an efficient immunisation programme cold chain and can keep every vaccine vial safe at required temperature.

Scientific Task Force on Covid-19 member Dr Javed Akram says the government needs to vaccinate at least 75 per cent population.

Saying neither this is a phenomenon happening for first time in the world nor the last time, Dr Akram says these situations will continue playing vital role in world politics. Since a lot of politics will continue rotating around leaders of the world nations, he suggested that the leaders must review and develop evidence-based strategies for prevention and cure.

Dr Akram, who is also vice-chancellor of the University of Health Sciences, says the university has successfully conducted 39 major clinical trials on mutations, PCRs, diagnostics, anti-body testing etcs.

While 69,000 people were required to volunteer for clinical testing of Cansino Bio vaccine at 19 centres in Pakistan, Dr Akram says the university has almost completed the vaccine trials on over 17,500 and completing the 18,000 volunteers’ list in a day or two.

“The UHS has also conveyed to the DRAP that it is ready to conduct clinical trials for more Covid-19 vaccines produced by Australia and Russia,” Dr Akram added.

Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2021

Read also

PM’s bid to shut all travel corridors could be undermined by poor enforcement, shock figures show

Alex Azar’s resignation letter paints a misleading picture of Trump’s coronavirus response

Josh King pricing himself out of Everton transfer as Bournemouth contract rebel demands £120k a week

News, articles, comments, with a minute-by-minute update, now on — latest news 24/7. You can add your news instantly now — here