Dr. Faisal Sultan, Special Assistant To The Prime Minister For Health Says Private Sector Given The Green Light To Import Coronavirus Vaccine
Pakistani authorities say that the state will allow the private sector to import vaccines for coronavirus.
“In addition to procurement by the government, if private companies get approval, through the normal process, they will be allowed to do so,” Dr. Faisal Sultan, special assistant to the prime minister on health said.
The whole procurement of vaccines has become a laughing stock because of the inconsistent comments of the authorities. Earlier, officials from the Health Ministry and the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) were quick to point out that the private sector will not be allowed to import the vaccine.
The government is still hanging in the balance as there is no concrete deal for vaccine procurement as of yet. Responding to a query about whether the government has finalized deals with any vaccine manufacturers, Sultan said: “Not yet, but very soon.”
The Never-Ending Vaccine Negotiations
According to him, authorities are negotiating with China and Russia, among others, to procure the vaccines. Mr. Sultan also acts as health minister for the country and says that frontline workers and senior citizens will be given the vaccine first.
The government recently increased an initial sum of $150 to $250 it earmarked for purchasing the doses.
The science and technology minister made a similar announcement earlier in the day.
“We are in touch with all pharmaceutical companies which are manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines… Dr Faisal Sultan, the federal health adviser, and the Health Ministry are leading the initiative,” Fawad Chaudhry told a news conference in the eastern city of Lahore.
He said talks with a couple of pharmaceutical companies are in their final stages. The government should be able to give a definite vaccination strategy within a week after the talks conclude.
“We hope to inoculate a large section of the population free of charge,” he said. “We will also allow private companies to import, and cater to the rich, who do not want to wait.”
Late To The Vaccination Party
Pakistan will launch a vaccination drive in the second quarter of 2021. Nausheen Hamid, the parliamentary secretary at the Health Ministry, had said earlier this month.