Private Patients Even With The Power and Ability To Pay Will Have To Wait Out To Get The Vaccine
The Ministry of National Health Services has rebuked the news circulating in the media that the private sector will be allowed to import and distribute COVID-19 vaccines for those who can afford them.
The statement came after a report in The Express Tribune claimed that the government has allowed the private sector to “…cater to the segment of society that can afford..”.
Sajid Shah, a spokesman for the Ministry of National Health Services, has laid such rumors to peace and has clarified that the ministry did not issue any such directive.
Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) CEO Mr. Asim Rauf also came forward to rebuke the irresponsible journalism and also refuted the report. Mr. Asim Rauf said:
“Nothing of this sort has been done. Such permissions can’t be given at this point because governments all over the world are struggling to procure Covid-19 vaccines,”
According to the need of the hour, Pakistan has allocated funds of $250 million to the acquisition of the COVID-19 vaccine. Moreover, there are a number of signed non-disclosure agreements with various multinational companies. Under the restrictions, no country the authority to make the contents of the agreement or the vaccine details public.
Prior to the latest statement, the government had a budget of $150m for the vaccine. The parliamentary secretary of the National Health Services (NHS) said,
“We will sign a purchase agreement with more than one company to ensure that we get a vaccine (in case any of the available vaccine fails). Russia had also offered us its vaccine recently. However, we are looking into its safety and efficacy as public health is our top priority,”
Dr. Nausheen Hamid, the Parliamentary Secretary, is hoping that the delivery of the vaccine will start by the end of the first quarter of next year.
Government Plans For COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
According to her,
However, we are not going to give the vaccine to everyone. According to our priority list, in the first phase, healthcare workers attending to COVID-19 patients and people over 65 years will be vaccinated.
“In the second phase, the remaining healthcare workers and people over 60 years of age will get preference. Moreover, GAVI has also pledged to provide vaccine for 20pc population which comes to 45 million people,” she added.
According to the plans of the government only by the end of 2021, the vaccine will be available to the masses.
The need of the vaccine is dire at this point. The cases have started climbing again and the curve is sloping sharply upwards. In the past 24 hrs, another 36 patients lost their lives and another 2300 tested positive for the virus.
The positivity and death rates stand at 7.42% and 2.24% respectively. The NHS twitter handle is providing daily stats for the pandemic.
2,362 new Coronavirus cases reported; 36 deaths in past 24 hours https://t.co/WCfXYyHT1v
— Ministry of National Health Services, Pakistan (@nhsrcofficial) December 14, 2020