The federal cabinet has approved $ 150 million to procure COVID 19 vaccine which is expected to be available by the first quarter of 2021. The government is keen to make arrangement for the vaccination at the earliest. The National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) has already finalized its recommendations for the procurement of vaccine which are approved by the federal cabinet.
A four to five-member committee will be constituted to regulate the process of procurement to ensure transparency. The government has decided to approach both western and Chinese manufacturers. However, a number of factors will be considered before procurement of vaccine including the type of vaccine, its efficacy, side effects, safety and storage requirement, coast and production capacity of manufactures. Dr Faisal Sultan, special assistant to the prime minister on health and Mr Shibli Faraz, federal minister of information informed the media regarding the fresh decision taken on the procurement of vaccine.
As far as the availability of vaccines is concerned, the number of players from Russia, China, UK, USA and Germany are in the game. AstraZeneca (UK, Oxford University Vaccine), Moderna (USA), Pfizer-BioNTech (USA & Germany) and Gamaleya, Sputnik V (Russia), CanSino Biologics & Sinovac Biotech (China) are major manufacturers racing to get the COVID Vaccine.
“In the first phase, the vaccine will be administered to health care workers, senior citizens and people on the high risk because of chronic disease,” said Dr Faisal Sultan special assistant to the prime minister on health.
The shelf price of the complete dose of Pfizer vaccine is $ 20 each and two-shot are administered to a person. However, the cost of a single dose AstraZeneca vaccine is $ 4 and two dozes are required for complete vaccination of a person, the complete cost became $ 8.
The federal government on the recommendation of NCOC has allocated resources and lay down the process for procurement of the vaccine so it may be available at the earlies. However, the chines companies are still conducting trials in Pakistan.