Vaccine For Novel Coronavirus Will Likely Be Available In Pakistan By February
Health authorities from Pakistan are in contact with China and Russia, among several other countries, for the procurement of coronavirus vaccines.
Special assistant to the Prime Minister, Mr. Faisal Sultan, said
“We are in talks with China, Russia and some other countries for procurement of the [Covid-19] vaccine after narrowing down our priority list,”
Mr. Sultan said the vaccine would be procured in the coming days and subject to mass production and should be available in Pakistan sometime between January and March 2021.
In the first phase of its application, the coronavirus vaccine will be administered to health workers and senior citizens according to the decisions of the health department.
The special assistant to the Prime Minister added,
“There is nothing final yet; however, I can tell you that we have to rely on more than one source,” the adviser said. “We will procure the vaccine only after its efficacy and safety is proven.”
While Russia has started the distribution of its Sputnik V Covid-19 shot nationwide, China is testing its vaccines in many countries, and supply deals are being signed.
Other vaccines seeking emergency use authorization are produced by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Oxford-AstraZeneca. Pakistan is also testing more than three different vaccines from its medical institutes.
The High Costs Associated with Coronavirus Vaccine Administration
Another problem in from of Islamabad is that of finances to secure the vaccines. According to an estimate, more than $1 bn would be required to administer the vaccine successfully.
As for the initial purchases $150 million have been allocated to secure the first batch.
Last week, Dr. Nausheen Hamid, Parliamentary Secretary for Health, said all citizens would be getting the Covid-19 vaccines free of charge, and the drive will begin in the second quarter of 2021.
But, considering the limited number of vaccines that will be available once the vaccine is launched at a mass scale, some kind of a priority would have to be defined.
Recent weeks have been particularly hard for Pakistan. The number of cases are spiking again.
The South Asian country recorded 3,795 new infections on Monday, the highest single-day tally since July 3. The infection rate is also increasing
BREAKING: Pakistan reports 3,795 new Coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours – total cases are now 420,294
39,076 tests conducted in last 24 hours
Infection rate of 9.71%
— Coronavirus Pakistan (@COVID19InPAK) December 7, 2020
The Ever-Increasing Infection Rate
The total caseload in the country of 220 million people has reached 420,294, including 8,398 related deaths. Pakistan has tested about 5.8 million people for coronavirus, and the infection rate currently stands at 9%.
The testing capacity of the labs is improving and public labs are now conducting more tests than private ones.
Pakistan has a total of 130 coronavirus testing labs, with a daily capacity of 58,723 (as of Dec 6). Majority of the labs are private, with a total capacity of 29,529.
In the last 24 hours, public labs tested more Covid-19 samples than private labs.
— Benazir Shah (@Benazir_Shah) December 7, 2020
The data sourced from NCOC also suggests that the improvements being made are in the right direction but may be too little too late as the time for imposing a lockdown is long gone. The spike is showing no signs to waning.