Govt to administer COVID-19 vaccine for free: Faisal Sultan

Covid-19 vaccine

Pakistan government will administer the COVID-19 vaccine to its citizens for free of cost

As countries across the world have started vaccinating their citizens against the COVID-19 virus, Pakistan is also making all efforts to procure the vaccine in the coming days. In a press briefing on Wednesday, Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health, Dr. Faisal Sultan, announced that the Imran Khan government will be administering the COVID-19 vaccine to its citizens for free of cost.

As of now, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has approved two vaccine candidates – Oxford-AstraZeneca’s vaccine and China’s Sinopharm’s vaccine – for emergency use in the country.

During the press conference, he said that the government is in talks with the two pharmaceutical firms for procuring the vaccines with the aim of inoculating its population of approximately 220 million. At the same time, the authorities have been in contact with both the Chinese and British governments to procure the vaccines. Dr Sultan also added that Pakistan is expected to receive free vaccines for 20 percent of its population through the World Health Organisation’s COVAX Facility.

Reportedly, the Pakistan government is seeking to procure at least one million COVID-19 vaccine doses by March 2021 in order to vaccinate at least 70 percent of its population in the coming months. He assured that more doses will be obtained in the future.

Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccine

In order to vaccinate the maximum number of people, Pakistan authorities have designed a supply chain system by training an Expanded Programme of Immunisation. The SAPM expressed confidence in vaccinating the entire population of the country through this strategy.

“Our national campaign will be run through EPI and they will store the vaccines. They have reviewed and strengthened their cold chain and they can further expand it as well,” Dr. Sultan added.

Dr Faisal Sultan further added that the authorities have completed the registration of 400,000 health workers in its resource management system for administering the COVID-19 vaccine in the first phase of the campaign. In the first phase of the campaign, the authorities will vaccinate senior citizens aged 65 and above along with frontline workers.

“The vaccines provided by the government will be free of cost,” Dr Sultan highlighted.

However, he also confirmed that provincial governments and the private sector can procure the COVID-19 vaccines on their own, in accordance with their need.

Meanwhile, Pakistan is conducting the phase III clinical trials of Chinese drugmaker CanSino’s vaccine, and results are expected soon. The special assistant stated that around 17,500 volunteers have participated in the vaccine trials. KEYWORDS: Pakistan government, COVID-19 vaccine, Dr Faisal Sultan, Imran Khan, Pakistan PM, Imran Khan govt, COVID-19 pandemic, Pakistan population, Pakistan vaccination campaign

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