On Wednesday, The Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Fawad Chaudhry, confirmed that Pakistan has decided to purchase 1.2 million doses of the vaccine developed by the Chinese manufacturer Sinopharm.
The science minister announced this news from his official Twitter handle which read, “The Cabinet Committee has decided to initially purchase 1.2 million doses of the vaccine from the Chinese company Sinopharm, which will be provided free of cost to frontline workers in the first quarter of 2021.”
The private sector can import the vaccine approved internationally, added Fawad Chaudhry.
کابینہ کمیٹی نے فیصلہ کیا ہے کہ ابتدائ طور پر چین کی کمپنی سائنوفارم سے ویکسین کی بارہ لاکھ Doses خریدی جائیں گی جو 2021 کی پہلی سہ ماہی میں فرنٹ لائن ورکرز کو مفت مہیا کی جائیں گی، پرائیویٹ سیکٹر اگر کوئ اور بینالاقوامی طور پر منظور شدہ ویکسین امپورٹ کرنا چاہےتو وہ بھی کرسکتا ہے
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) December 31, 2020
According to a statement by the Ministry of National Health Servies (NHS), the cabinet committee meeting was held yesterday and chaired by Minister for Planning Asad Umar. Besides Fawad Chaudhry, Minister for Industries Hammad Azhar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar, and Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Heath, Dr. Faisal Sultan were also present during the meeting.
The overall situation of Covid-19 vaccines was reviewed during the meeting.
“The committee was apprised that a number of countries have pre-booked Covid-19 vaccine based on preliminary or incomplete results in order to ensure the timely availability of vaccines for their populations. In some situations, vaccines were pre-booked even in the development stages to ensure availability.
“The committee was informed of the deliberations of an expert committee formed by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) who are in process of reviewing and analyzing available data from clinical studies performed so far. Of the available options, data from one company was submitted for review to the committee for a final adjudication for emergency use,” the statement read.
“In line with global practices at present whereby emergency procurement has to be made at times with incomplete and evolving information, the committee decided to pre-book Covid-19 vaccine from a Chinese state-owned company, Sinopharm based on data submitted and timely availability. This decision is contingent upon emergency use approval by DRAP. Once approved and procured, the government will provide free of cost Covid-19 vaccine for all frontline health workers in the first quarter of 2021,” it added.
Held meeting of cabinet committee for procurement of vaccines. Authorized procurement of more than 1 million vaccines which will cover all frontline health workers, as soon as DRAP expert committee approves vaccine. Target is to deploy these vaccines within 1st quarter of 2021.
— Asad Umar (@Asad_Umar) December 30, 2020
The meeting further decided that the government will be in contact with other manufacturers of the Covid-19 vaccine for further booking and the remaining phases of vaccination, based on further data and availability, reported Dawn.
The government is in close contact with the world’s leading Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers to ensure early availability in Pakistan, informed the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC).
NCOC has also developed a National Immunisation System for effective Covid-19 vaccine administration.
“NCOC in collaboration with Ministry of NHS, National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), and National Information Technology Board (NITB) has developed National Immunisation Management System (NIMS) to ensure efficient supply chain management and administration of Covid-19 vaccine. The system will enable automated phase-wise registration of citizens for vaccine through SMS/ internet, based on CNIC numbers. Immunization mechanism will be intimated to citizens shortly. NIMS will be made available by mid of January,” it stated.