Pakistan has reached out to American pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson in an effort to secure pre-booked supply of COVID-19 vaccine for the country; however, United States (US) authorities told Pakistan that the company will not supply the vaccine before meeting US needs.
Pakistan’s embassy in Washington informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) that they had contacted Johnson & Johnson to make advance booking of its COVID-19 vaccine. “Johnson & Johnson has not responded to our request for COVID-19 vaccination supply,” said a letter by MoFA sent to the Ministry of National Health. “The US authorities have however, informed that this company would first meet the domestic needs of USA before being allowed for commercial release.” The Correspondent has copy of this communication.
MoFA said Pakistani missions will continue ‘to actively pursue the matter in order to ensure timely coordination between the Ministry for National Health Services and the vaccine manufacturers in the United States.
On the other hand, China has offered its vaccine to Pakistan, and initial tests of their vaccine is in its final stages in Lahore, where it is being tested in the University of Health Sciences. Assistant Professor Dr Shahnoor Azhar told the media that Beijing has provided its vaccine which had been through two trials in Lahore. This vaccine was tried on 900 people in Lahore, only 5 percent reported low grade fever, and the vaccine started creating anti-bodies after four weeks.
Vaccine procurement budget approved
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Imran Khan approved a proposal for making advance booking of emerging COVID-19 vaccines for 10 million people. According to sources, the Prime Minister approved a budget of USD 150 million for procurement of the vaccine on Tuesday.
Parliamentary Secretary for Health Dr Nausheen Hamid told a local news channel that Pakistan has contacted two pharmaceutical companies for advance booking of COVID-19 vaccine.