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Health ministry seeks $150 million funds for COVID-19 vaccines

ISLAMABAD: Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination has sought $150 million funds from the federal government for advance booking of COVID-19 vaccines, ARY News reported on Friday.

Sources told ARY News that the health ministry sent a summary to the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) in which it sought allocation of $150 million funds for advance booking of COVID-19 vaccines.

The summary stated that the purchases of the coronavirus vaccines will be made under Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) regulations and its payments will be made in foreign currency.

Read: PM Imran okays funds for advance purchase of Covid-19 vaccine

It added that Pakistan contacted Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, for getting free-of-cost vaccines or its availability on discounted prices. It is expected to get vaccines from Gavi by the end of 2021.

A session of ECC will be held under the chair of the finance advisor Abdul Hafeez Shaikh today where it is expected that the summary will get approved.

On November 4, it was learnt that the health ministry had recommended purchases of potential coronavirus vaccines under last-stage trials and allocation of $100 million in funds for its advance booking.

Pakistan had made a decision to purchase the possible vaccines of COVID-19 in advance and permission was sought from the Prime Minister Imran Khan by the health ministry for sending the summary to the ECC, sources privy to the development told ARY News.

Read: Local requirements behind US refusal to provide COVID-19 vaccine to Pakistan: sources

The recommendation was made for carrying out vaccination of 100 million nationals including health workers and elderly citizens in the first phase. The permission was also sought to hold negotiation with vaccine makers with an inter-ministerial committee for its purchases.

The ministry had said that the trials of COVID-19 vaccines have entered into its third phase on the global level and all countries started advance booking for the vaccines expected to be introduced in the first and second quarters of 2021.

It is pertinent to mention here that the matter related to the advance purchases of COVID-19 vaccines was also discussed by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC).

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