The allocated price for corona vaccines rises to $250 million in Pakistan and has signed agreements with various international companies.
In the past week, the government officials told the media in a conference that the allocated price was set to $150 million which now has been raised about $100 million today.
Parliamentary Secretary on National Health Services (NHS) Dr Nausheen Hamid told: “Allocation for vaccine purchase had been enhanced to $250 million.”
“We will sign a purchase agreement with more than one company to ensure that we get a vaccine (in case any of the available vaccine fails). Russia had also offered us its vaccine recently. However, we are looking into its safety and efficacy as public health is our top priority,” she added.
Dr Nausheen Hamid answered the question, When will it be available in Pakistan, by saying “It was hoped that the delivery of the vaccine would start by the end of the first quarter of next year.”
“However, we are not going to give the vaccine to everyone.
The vaccines will be administered to the public in different stages:
Stage 1: In this stage the frontline health care workers and people over 65 years will be put on priority.
Stage 2: In this stage, the vaccine will be administered to the elderly people over 60 years of age and the population that are at a risk of getting the virus.
Stage 3: In this stage ,the common public will be administered with the vaccine by the end of 2020,” she told.
Dr Nausheen Hamid told when answering another question that “Pfizer had offered special containers to maintain the cold chain, adding that the vaccine could be kept in normal freezers for five days.”
National Health Service’s senior official told there were six potential companies across the globe and they have signed the agreement which stated that the country will not make details of the vaccine public.
“The Chinese vaccine is also under trial in Pakistan so we will get the vaccine on a priority basis. As per assurances given by the companies we may get between 100,000 and 500,000 doses by the end of February or in March. The vaccine will be administered to the most vulnerable people such as healthcare professionals working with Covid-19 patients,” he told.
While answering a question that Why are the vaccines not available in the current month or at the start of the new year, the officials replied that there was alot of risk factor and alot of funds money could go to waste .
“Canada’s population is only 40 million but it has made advance payments to different companies for 250 million doses. Over six times the doses have been booked as some companies can declare failure of research anytime,” he added.
“Besides, we are part of the Covax by Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) in which there are 189 countries and we will get free vaccine for 20pc of the population. I hope that we will acquire the vaccine for 3pc of our population in the second quarter of 2021 and the remaining by the end of 2021. However, there will be questions about the cold chain management of the vaccine as it would not be easy to provide the vaccine across the country,” he further added.
He told that DRAP (Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan) was taken onboard for vaccine registration rules.
“However that reply has put a question mark on the Chinese vaccine as I fear that it (Chinese vaccine) might not be registered in developed countries and a detailed study will be required for the registration of the vaccine with Drap,” the officials said.
Dr. Rana Safdar ,Head of Polio Program and Expanded Program of Immunisation ,also that the cold chain management is also a major issue.
“We have been reviewing our cold chain management system to ensure supply of the vaccine across the country. Though cold storages for maintaining -70 degree Celsius can be arranged easily, they will only be used for Covid-19 vaccine as other vaccines are stored at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius,” he told.
Dr Safdar said “it could be suggested to multinational companies to provide Covid-19 vaccines in different cities as the vaccine could be stored in normal freezers for up to five days.”
The health experts have advised to adopt the wait and see policy because there could be adverse effects of the vaccines as like of diabetes and arthritis.
Microbiologist Prof Dr Javaid Usman told the media that Dawn :“It may take 10 months to one year to see if the vaccines have any chronic effects. Though the US has allowed emergency use, I am sure it will take some time for it to cover bulk of the population. We are in no way late as there can be side effects of the vaccine. In the past people stopped getting their children administered measles vaccine after a research was published in a renowned journal which said autism was developing among children due to the vaccine,” Prof Usman added.
“Quality of vaccine, efficacy and availability should be considered before administering it. Moreover there is a possibility that the vaccine might stop working as the virus has been mutating. This is why every year new influenza vaccine is launched because the virus mutates itself,” he told.
A total of 2,729 new cases and 71 deaths have been reported in the past 24 hours by the NCOC (National Command and Operation Centre).
67% ventilators are occupied in Multan, 36% in Lahore, 51% in Islamabad 31% in Peshawar.
The highest observed positivity ration was recorded in Karachi 20.88%, Peshawar at 15.05% and muzaffarabad at 11.2% respectively.