On Tuesday, Pakistan experienced a shortage of COVID-19 vaccines due to logistic challenges resulting from the lack of coordination between different departments.
According to reports, the federal government had relieved the Health Ministry from the duty of procuring vaccines and tasked the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to procure vaccines.
The NDMA has not only been dealing with Chinese vaccine manufacturers, including Sinopharm, Sinovac, and CanSinoBIO, for ensuring an uninterrupted vaccine supply, but it is also negotiating with Pfizer for the direct procurement of its mRNA based vaccine.
Last month, Pakistan received the first shipment comprising 106,000 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine through COVAX, a global initiative aimed at equitable access to Coronavirus vaccines led by GAVI.
These doses have already been distributed among all federating units but they will be used only to vaccinate immunocompromised people, such as patients of organ transplant, cancer, and AIDS.
On the other hand, the National Institute of Health (NIH) had pledged to manufacture 3 million doses of Pakistan’s first locally-produced COVID-19 vaccine, PakVac, each month but failed to meet its commitment.
A spokesman for the Health Ministry has also confirmed that a shortage of Coronavirus vaccines was reported in different parts of the country on Tuesday, adding that the next shipments of Coronavirus vaccines will reach the country before the end of the current week to augment the ongoing vaccination campaign.
Pakistan has been using 6 Coronavirus vaccines in the ongoing vaccination drive. Three vaccines have been made by Chinese companies including Sinopharm, CanSinoBIO, and Sinovac, while the remaining are Sputnik V, AstraZeneca, and Pfizer.