Govt sets criteria to procure Covid vaccine with $150m grant

The federal government has approved a grant of $150 million to procure Covid-19 vaccine, Prime Minister Special Assistant on Health Dr Fasial said on Tuesday.

He was addressing the media along with Information Minister Senator Shibli Faraz following the federal cabinet meeting which held in Islamabad with Prime Minister Imran Khan in chair.

Dr Faisal said the criteria that have been set out for the procurement of coronavirus vaccine included the efficacy, level of safety and cold chain requirements among others. “We will tap the several options for the purchase of vaccine and also consider the production capacity of the firm to ensure smooth supply in the country.”

For this purpose, the SAPM said, a few pharmaceutical companies have been shortlisted, contacted and initial conversation has been started with them.

 

In first phase of providing the vaccine, our priority will be healthcare workers and old age people who are most vulnerable to the virus, he added.

The PM’s aide said that the health ministry will request the federal government to more funds for the vaccine if required.

The Chinese vaccine is also undergoing phase 3 trials — or large-scale testing on humans — in several countries including in Pakistan.

It is the first time Pakistan has participated in such a trial, which comes amid a string of positive vaccine announcements by Western pharmaceutical companies this month.

The vaccine is being developed by CanSinoBio and the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology China.

(With additional input from Radio Pakistan)

This article originally appeared on The Express Tribune