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Senate passes resolution to provide free-of-cost COVID-19 vaccine

ISLAMABAD: The Senate has passed a resolution with a majority for the provision of free-of-cost COVID-19 vaccine or at its original price, ARY News reported on Monday.

A resolution was passed in Senate with a majority which was presented by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) lawmaker Kamran Murtaza regarding the provision of the COVID-19 vaccine at its original price or free-of-cost to the nationals.

It stated that the citizens of all countries are being vaccinated free-of-cost, whereas, the coronavirus vaccine price was very high in Pakistan up to 8,400 as compared with the other countries which the vaccination rate is up to Rs1,500.

Read: US sets global benchmark for COVID-19 vaccine price

The move was declared a violation of the Constitution’s Article 38 which defines the provision of basic rights to the citizen by the state. It added that the global price of the vaccine is Rs1,500 while the rates of two doses of COVID-19 vaccine is fixed at Rs8,400 in Pakistan.

It urged the federal government to review its decision. 43 lawmakers have given their votes in favour of the resolution, whereas, 31 senators opposed it.

On March 21, the federal cabinet had approved a summary regarding prices of COVID-19 vaccines– Chinese and Russian doses- to be imported by the private sector after a recommendation from the health ministry following approval from the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP).

Read: Pharma firm shows disagreement over govt price of Russian vaccine

The health ministry had suggested a proposal allowing the private sector to import the COVID-19 vaccine.

The health ministry had recommended the price of two anti-COVID jabs of the Russian vaccine be set at Rs 8,449. The packet containing four doses of Sputnik-V is set at Rs 16,560 while 10 and 20 doses would be available at Rs40,555 and Rs 81,110 respectively after approval from the federal cabinet.

On the other hand, the single-shot COVID vaccine from China- Convidencia- would cost Rs4,225.

Two Pharmaceutical companies are importing vaccines from abroad with one hailing from Karachi importing the Russian vaccine while the Chinese vaccine would be imported by a multi-national pharma company.

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