Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on National Health Services, Dr. Faisal Sultan, has said that Coronavirus vaccines will be widely available in the second quarter of 2021.
In a recent interview with a local news channel, Dr. Sultan discussed the ongoing second wave of Coronavirus in Pakistan, the country’s testing capacity, and its plans to procure effective COVID-19 vaccines next year.
He revealed that there are two committees working in the National Health Services. One is made up of experts that is exploring the potential vaccines Pakistan should procure. This committee has so far recommended six vaccines. Meanwhile, the other committee is tasked with deciding the course of action to procure these recommended vaccines.
When asked which vaccine out of the six Pakistan intends to get, Dr. Sultan responded that the country will procure the vaccine that will be earliest available to it.
Although Pakistan has not placed any advance orders for the vaccines, the country is currently in active negotiations with the manufacturers of these vaccines.
He said that Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) in its meeting last week, with Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, approved the provision of a technical supplementary grant of $150 million for the purchase of the Coronavirus vaccines.
He added that the vaccines will be delivered to frontline healthcare workers and the elderly on priority. Overall, around 10 million people will be provided a vaccine cover under the aforementioned arrangement.