Pakistan has increased the funds allocated for the purchase of the Covid-19 vaccine to $ 250 million from the previously approved amount of $ 150 million.
It has also signed confidentiality agreements with several multinational companies under which the recipient country will not make the details of the vaccine public, Dawn News reported.
The parliamentary secretary of National Health Services (NHS), Nausheen Hamid, told the newspaper that the allocation for the purchase of vaccines had been increased to 250 million dollars.
“We will sign a purchase agreement with more than one company to make sure we get a vaccine. Russia had also recently offered us its vaccine. However, we are investigating its safety and efficacy, as public health is our top priority, ”he said.
When asked when the vaccine will be available, Hamid said delivery of the vaccine was expected to begin late in the first quarter of next year.
He said that in the initial phase of vaccinations, front-line health workers who care for Covid-19 patients and people over 65 will be vaccinated.
In the second phase, the remaining health workers and people over 60 will be given preference, he said, adding that the GAVI vaccine alliance has also committed to providing vaccines for 20 percent of the population.
By the end of 2021, it would be available to the masses, Hamid added.
Responding to another question, the parliamentary secretary said that Pfizer had offered special containers to maintain the cold chain, adding that the vaccine could be kept in normal freezers for five days.
A senior official from the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) told the newspaper that there were six potential companies and that the ministry was not only committed to them but had signed confidentiality agreements with some of them because they were sharing data and progress of vaccine trials.
“The Chinese vaccine is also being tested in Pakistan, so we will receive it as a priority. According to the guarantees given by the companies, we can obtain between 100,000 and 500,000 doses at the end of February or March. The vaccine will be administered to the most vulnerable people, such as healthcare professionals who work with Covid-19 patients, ”he said.
Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus cases rose to 438,425 on Sunday after 3,369 new cases were reported.
Another 72 patients died in the last day, bringing the Covid-19 death toll to 8,796, while at least 2,471 patients were in critical condition, according to the NHS ministry, adding that 3.83 have so far recovered. .000 people.