Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) approved $150 million technical supplementary grant to book covid-19 vaccine from international manufacturers.
Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh chaired the ECC meeting in Islamabad on Friday which ECC evaluated a proposal submitted by the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination and approved, in principle, the provision of a technical supplementary grant of $150 million for the purchase of coronavirus vaccine.
Prime Minister Imran Khan had approved an allocation of worth $100 million and allowed the procurement of the vaccine at the earliest.
Different segments of society will be prioritized to be given the vaccine first that will be available in limited numbers during the ongoing winter season. Senior citizens, health practitioners, and people suffering from chronic diseases will be prioritized.
Pakistan health ministry is currently in negotiations with two different pharmaceutical companies that are expected to launch the coronavirus vaccine by the middle of 2021.
Pakistan “is in the process of advance booking the Covid-19 vaccine from different companies” after the ECC allocated $150 million of funding, Dr. Malik Mohammad Safi, director general for health at the Ministry of National Health Services has confirmed.
Vice-Chancellor of the Health Services Academy and Chairman of the National Vaccine Committee Dr. Asad Hafeez told reporters, “As we speak no company has announced the cost of the vaccine. Moreover, not a single company has got the approval to sell the vaccine as the clinical trial data is limited.”
“Although international firms — Pfizer and BioNTech — have announced that the phase-III clinical trials of their vaccines had shown 90 percent efficacy in preventing the disease among those who have not contracted the virus, but they are in the process of compiling the data. Once data will be completed they will submit it with United States Food and Drugs Authority and with similar regulatory authority of the European Union. It may take another four weeks.”
He also said that the government would procure the vaccine soon, it might take a few more months to get the coronavirus vaccine.