COVID-19 vaccine to be available between Jan & March: Faisal

KARACHI: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on health Dr Faisal Sultan has said that the government is negotiating with China and Russia, among others, to procure coronavirus vaccines.
“We are in talks with China, Russia and some other countries for procurement of the [COVID-19] vaccine after narrowing down our priority list,” Dr Faisal Sultan told a foreign news agency.
The vaccine, he said, would be available in Pakistan sometime between January and March next year, and administered to health workers and senior citizens in the first phase. “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. Islamabad has already earmarked an initial sum of $150 million to purchase the doses.
Last week, Nausheen Hamid, Pakistan’s parliamentary secretary for health, said all citizens would be administered COVID-19 vaccines free of charge, and the drive will begin in the second quarter of 2021. The country has witnessed a spike in COVID-19 cases and deaths in recent weeks. – TLTP

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