20% Pakistanis to receive Covid-19 vaccine by year end

2.56m doses of vaccine have already been received with 8.5m more to be received in April and May, govt tells SHC


DNA/news Desk April 06, 2021
A resident receives a commercial dose of Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine, at a private hospital in Karachi on April 4, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

KARACHI:

The federal government on Tuesday said that 20 per cent population of the country would be vaccinated against Covid-19 by December 2021.

The government shared the details of the vaccination process in a written response to Sindh High Court (SHC), saying that they have earmarked an amount of US$150 million for the inoculation drive.

“From a period of June to December 2021, 20 per cent of the population will be vaccinated,” the reply before the SHC stated, further saying that they have so far received 2.56 million doses of Covid vaccine,
while 8.5 million more doses would be received in April and May this year.

The federal government further informed the court that they have signed agreements for vaccine availability with the World Bank (WB) and Asian Development Bank (ADB). “So far 800,000 people have received the Covid jabs,” it said.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Sindh High Court (SHC) had sought a reply from the federal government within three weeks over the non-availability and unjust distribution of the coronavirus vaccine.

The high court demanded a reply from the government over the steps taken for vaccinating the citizens while addressing the deputy attorney general in the court.

Also read: SHC allows commercial sale of imported vaccine

A petition filed in the high court while challenging the price fixed for the Covid vaccine contended that providing basic healthcare is the responsibility of the government.

“The price fixed for the vaccine has been away from poor’s reach,” according to the petition. “There are complaints about unjust distribution of the corona vaccine.”

The petitioner pleaded to the court to ensure availability and just distribution and supply of the vaccine.

Last week, SHC issued a four-page interim written order regarding release and sale of coronavirus vaccine on spot consignments basis, ordering that a batch of Covid-19 vaccine imported by a private company be immediately made available to the public.

A single bench, comprising Justice Nadeem Akhtar, rejected a request from the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) to stop the sale of the vaccine. The court maintained the country faced a dangerous situation due to the pandemic, therefore, the sale of the vaccine could not be stopped.

Also read: Increased restrictions slowing Covid-19 positivity: Umar

Pakistan, largely reliant on the COVAX vaccine-sharing initiative, last month allowed private firms to import vaccines and agreed to exempt them from price caps, but later rescinded the exemption and said it would set maximum prices.

The country started the vaccination campaign in February with the doses donated by the Chinese government. It also expected millions of doses under the arrangements with COVAX and Gavi. However, these consignments had been delayed. Recently the government imported vaccines from China.

The vaccination drive becomes more important as the third wave of Covid-19, driven by the UK strain of coronavirus has intensified. The month of March saw nearly 90,000 new cases, along with 2,000 fatalities, according to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) data.

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