Minister for Planning and Development and Chief of National Command Operation Center (NCOC), Asad Umer on Sunday said that 50,000 corona vaccine dozes imported by the private sector are available in Pakistan.
It was the responsibility of the provincial governments to take care of the people’s health and ensure the availability of corona vaccine in their respective jurisdiction, he said in an interview with a private television channel.
A shipment of 40,00,000 (forty hundred thousand), dozes of corona vaccine was arriving in Pakistan by the end of April, he disclosed. In reply to a question, he said there are reports that the Sindh government had already given orders for the purchase of vaccines.
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As far as the responsibilities of the federal government were concerned, he said the Center was fulfilling its responsibilities with utmost care. Chief NCOC further stated that some 25,00,000 dozes of corona vaccine have already arrived here.
EAG and commercial import of vaccines
The Economic Advisory Group (EAG) was of the opinion that the government will best serve the urgent objective of vaccinating the greatest number of people expeditiously by allowing the private sector to import vaccines that meet the regulatory standards of approval at agreed-upon prices, in parallel with the ongoing government process of free vaccination.
EAG has clarified that the logic behind the commercial import of the COVID vaccine is economically and morally sound, as allowing the private sector to sell vaccines will lower the government’s expenditure and share the burden of inoculating the entire eligible population.
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Even if an abnormal price is set in the short run, it will trigger market correction mechanisms, resulting in a long-run optimal price. Thus, the government should focus on increasing competitive pressure rather than setting price caps.
Responding to the apprehension that higher mark-up power by a few importers has the potential to defeat the purpose of the said decision, EAG suggested keeping the competition open.
Courtesy: APP with additional input by GVS