Pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer, BioNTech & Moderna have succeeded in producing effective vaccines for Coronavirus and countries such as USA, Germany and UK have already signed contracts to get millions of doses for their population, but people are questioning when corona vaccine will come to Pakistan?
In USA & Germany there are hopes that initial doses will be available in December, but things are not as hopeful for Pakistan.
For countries like Pakistan there are two hopes for getting covid vaccines, one is through government purchases and another is receiving these vaccines through international NGOs and bodies.
Parliamentary Secretary for Health Dr. Nausheen Hamid confirmed that Pakistan is in contact with two international manufacturers of vaccine, hoping that soon a deal will be finalized. It is also said that the ministry is planning to allot $100 million fund for 10 million doses.
While ECC has approved $150 million grant for the purchase of the coronavirus vaccine.
According to Dr Hafeez, the government is nearing to finalize procurement of the vaccine, though he said it may take few more months. If things are as positive as Dr. Nausheen and Dr. Hafeez predicted that Pakistan will have the vaccine in the first quarter, which will be for frontline health workers.
Another source for receiving vaccines will be international initiatives such as Covax Facility, which aims to bring the vaccine to the underdeveloped and developing countries. Covax Facility is led by World Health Organization (WHO), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
Around 92 low- and middle-income economies are eligible to get access to vaccines through COVAX and Pakistan is among the list of these countries. It aims to vaccinate 20% of populations in these 92 countries, including Pakistan, by the end of 2021. Though the dates are not announced but it is hoped that distribution of vaccines will start in second quarter of 2021.
Pakistan also participated in multi-country phase-III clinical trial of Chinese manufactured vaccine for COVID-19, hoping that it will be more effective and affordable to Pakistan.
Prime Minister Imran Khan’s National Task Force on Science and Technology’s Chairman Dr Atta-ur-Rehman revealed that Pakistan conducting trials of two Chinese vaccines, he added that one of the manufacturers has agreed to provide the vaccine to Pakistan at “reasonable rates”.
Dr. Rasheed, an epidemic expert, said that vaccines being manufactured in western countries are already acquired by major economic powers. He said Pakistan have made agreements with Chinese manufacturers but even purchasing that vaccine for the whole population will require huge funds.
It seems that Pakistan will acquire millions of doses of Coronavirus vaccines from Chinese and western manufactures and will start vaccination for frontline health workers and elderly people in the first & second phase. Later in the third phase it will be available for common public.