On Saturday, Dr Faisal Sultan, the Special Assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan on Health confirmed that Drug Regulatory Authority Pakistan (DRAP) has given permission to use AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Pakistan.
“We are in the process to obtain Western origin and other vaccines both via bilateral purchase agreements as well as via the COVAX facility,” he said.
In addition to this, the Minister for Planning and head of the National Command and Control Centre (NCOC), Asad Umar said that vaccine will be available in March. Front line health workers and elderly people will get the vaccine in the first phase. Talking to a local new outlet the federal minister also said that just like private companies, the provinces also have the choice to import their own vaccine. “From day 1, the NCOC has adopted the policy that the federal government shall not have the monopoly to import anti-coronavirus vaccines,” he said. “Provinces and private entities including hospitals have been allowed to import the vaccines that are approved by DRAP.”
He said that around 3000 health care workers are under training for the vaccination drive in Pakistan. The private sector can also procure the vaccine after following proper guidelines.
According to the experts, the Oxford-Astra Zeneca vaccine can be stored in the fridge for six months and thus is more suitable for countries like Pakistan.
In the last 24 hours, 2,521 people tested positive for COVID-19 in Pakistan while 43 lost their lives.