Local requirements behind US refusal to provide COVID-19 vaccine to Pakistan: sources
The United States (US) has excused providing novel coronavirus vaccines in its response to the Pakistani mission in Washington as the company will meet the local requirement during the first phase before exporting it, citing sources, ARY News reported on Wednesday.
The United States (US) stated in its response to the Pakistani Mission in Washington that COVID-19 vaccines will be exported in the second phase after meeting its the local requirements.
Sources told ARY News that Pakistani Mission in Washington has apprised the federal government regarding the response of the US. Sources added that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed the health ministry about the reply from the US.
In a letter, it was stated that the Pakistani Mission in Washington and the health ministry are making all-out efforts for the availability of the coronavirus vaccines and kept in contact with the companies in order to place advance booking.
Pakistan is contacting companies for advance booking of COVID-19 vaccines after allocation of $100 million funds for purchasing potential coronavirus vaccines under last-stage trials.
It emerged on November 4, the Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination had written a letter to PM Imran Khan to seek permission for advance booking of coronavirus vaccines.
The ministry recommended allocation of $100 million in funds for the purchases of vaccines on an emergency basis for around 10 million nationals. In its first phase, the vaccines will be made available for elderly citizens and health workers.
PM Imran Khan was sought for allowing the inter-ministerial committee for holding negotiations with vaccine makers besides ordering the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) for considering the matter on an emergency basis.
It read 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.
The ministry stated in its letter 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.
Later on November 12, Prime Minister Imran Khan had approved specific funding for the advance purchase of the Covid-19 vaccine, according to a statement released by the Ministry of National Health Services Regulation.
The health ministry had said in a statement PM Imran showed special interest in ensuring quality vaccines at the earliest and approved specific funding in this regard.
The statement added that the government developed a COVID-19 vaccine strategy in response to global best practices.