Pakistan has not planned to buy the drugs any time soon as it aims to address the Covid-19 challenge through antibodies and has provided vaccines from friendly countries such as China, officials said.
To date, four vaccines – Sinophram (China), Oxford-AstraZeneca (UK), Sputnik-V (Russia) and Canino Bio (China) have been registered in the country.
National Health Service (NHS) secretary Amir Ashraf Khawaja told the Public Accounts Committee on Thursday that the Pakistani government had no plans to buy the drugs anytime soon and aimed to address the Covid-19 health challenge by using a protective herd and providing vaccines, the newspaper reported. -Dawn reported.
Herd insecurity occurs when a large number of people, usually 70 to 90 percent, are protected from infectious diseases after being infected with it.
According to the Director General of the National Institute of Health Maj Gen Aamir Aamer Ikram, the cost of a single dose of Chinese cannabis vaccine is USD 13. He said Pakistan relies on international donors and friendly countries like China.
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The NHS secretary informed the PAC that Chinese medical company Sinopharm had pledged to provide one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, saying that 0.5 million doses had been transferred to Pakistan.
He said the second phase would cater for health officials working in other hospitals and health facilities, adding that people aged 65 and over could also register for the vaccine.
He said Pakistan plans to vaccinate 70 million people this year.
According to the NHS secretary, Pakistan will also receive 16 million free doses of India-made Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine through Gavi which will supply 20 percent of the Pakistani population.
The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (Gavi) is a public-private partnership that aims to increase access to vaccines in poor countries.
Responding to a question from PAC Chairman Rana Tanveer Hussain, NHS secretary said Pakistan would receive the first AstraZeneca vaccine developed by the Serum Institute of India in mid-March and others were expected to arrive in the country in June.
According to him, vaccination of the elderly was supposed to start on March 5; however, the burden was delayed.
He said a Chinese company had conducted a third-phase trial of a vaccine for the Chinese vaccine in Pakistan, adding that a total of 18,000 people had been drugged and the effectiveness of the drug was 85 percent.
According to the NHS secretary, the department conducted a study in June 2020 to determine the number of those who had developed antibodies against coronavirus. He said the study found that about 15 percent of people had an immune system and did not need to be vaccinated.
The PAC chairperson pointed out that some people had some doubts about the side effects of the vaccine and suggested that the country’s top leadership should be treated first to remove doubts from the general public’s mind.
Responding to a question from Hina Rabbani Khar, the NHS secretary said that although the government had promised private companies to buy the vaccine, there was no reliable buyer so far.
According to him, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan still receives applications from only three companies for the importation of vaccines, but their applications were rejected because they did not provide the details and details of the drugs they wanted to import.
Meanwhile, the number of Covid-19 cases in the country has risen by almost 30 percent since the declaration of independence was announced, the report said.
The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), an organization representing health professionals, has called on the government to immediately set limits on the risk of developing a third wave of the virus.
Data from the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) showed that there were 1,176 cases on February 27 and 1,163 on March 1, but the number suddenly rose to 1,388 on March 2 to 1,519 on Thursday.
Pakistan has reported that 52 people have been killed in Covid-19 in the past 24 hours with a peak of 587,014. The death toll across the country dropped to 13,128 on Friday.
According to the latest figures from the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), 1,579 people were tested with Covid-19 in the last 24 hours.