Pakistan has now successfully checked off all the necessary requirements to order the Novel Coronavirus vaccines.
GAVI, the Vaccine alliance, is a public-private global health partnership. They have set up the GAVI COVAX AMC which is a coalition formed to support 92 middle/low income countries in the COVAX facility and help them get access to donor-funded doses of the COVID-19 vaccines. Pakistan now meets all the conditions to benefit from this and get their hands on these vaccinations.
The application template was released by GAVI on the 17th of November, and the deadline was set for the 7th of December 2020. Pakistan’s Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination put their Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) on the task of completing all the required consultation processes and any other requirements that needed to be fulfilled. A proposal was drafted and endorsed by the National Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) on Immunizations on the 1st of this month. It was then sent to the National Interagency Coordination Committee (NICC) for approval.
In a virtual meeting held today and chaired by Dr Faisal Sultan,The Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health, The NICC submitted their approval.
The Director-General Health, national and provincial EPI Managers, representatives from the Ministry of Finance, and representatives from WHO, UNICEF, and GAVI also joined the virtual meeting.
The SAPM applauded the efforts put in from the Government’s side and appreciated the fact that all options were explored when it came to defeating this deadly virus.
“Protecting the healthcare workforce at the forefront of the response against the COVID-19 shall ensure our strength to tackle the challenge head-on while protecting the elderly with co-morbidities will help in reducing the associated morbidity and mortality,” said Dr Sultan.
The Director-General Health, Dr Safi Malik, spoke in the meeting about the efforts that the EPI team has put in to get the proposal done in time.
Dr Rana Muhammad Safdar, the National Coordinator for EPI and Polio Eradication, also spoke during the meeting and said that Pakistan could really stand to benefit from this facility fi they were well prepared beforehand. “The COVAX facility would best benefit countries at an advanced level of preparedness,” said the Dr, “Endorsement from all the stakeholders of a proposal developed through national consensus enhances Pakistan’s chances to be among the first countries benefiting from the initiative.”
Pakistan and other countries that are eligible to receive this facility will most likely receive a significant amount of vaccine doses free of cost for some of their population. After that, they will also most likely receive the other required doses on special subsidised prices.