NCOC
File Photo

ISLAMABAD, Dec 23 (APP): The government is in close liaison with leading COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers, also those from China and regularly reviewing developments data of phase-III trials.

This was informed to National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) on Wednesday by the official concerned who further apprised that these steps will lead to a final decision about early availability of the vaccine for Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the government had already completed all prerequisites to submit the vaccine request to GAVI, through the COVAX facility, a coalition for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines by all countries.

According to official of Ministry of National Health Services, Pakistan and other GAVI eligible countries are likely to receive free of cost vaccines for a proportion of the population as well as additional quantities on special subsidized rates.

Releasing the application template on 17th November, GAVI had fixed 7th December as the deadline to receive application.

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The Expanded Program on Immunization under the guidance of the Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination established a technical working group that worked round the clock to complete the consultation process having all stakeholders on board.

The proposal drafted therein was endorsed by the National Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) on Immunizations on 1st December and approved by the National Interagency Coordination Committee (NICC) chaired by Dr. Faisal Sultan, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Health Services.

He said that the government is committed to ensuring availability of safe and effective vaccine to the most vulnerable population groups, the soonest possible, is yet another tool that the government is looking to benefit from it.

He said that the government will ensure protecting the healthcare workforce at the forefront of the response against the COVID-19, to tackle the challenge head on while protecting elderly with co-morbidities will help in reducing the associated morbidity and mortality.

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The partner organizations also appreciated the government’s commitment and proactive approach to benefit from every opportunity as it arises to mitigate the impact of devastating pandemic of recent times.

He said that the COVAX facility would best benefit countries at advance level of preparedness and endorsement from all stakeholders of a proposal developed through national consensus enhances Pakistan’s chances to be among first countries benefiting from the initiative.

The dedicated NICC meeting of high significance was convened by the Ministry of National Health Services to deliberate on Pakistan’s application for submission to GAVI. Depending upon the availability of resources, COVAX initiative aims to ensure equitable supply of COVID-19 vaccine to all countries, irrespective of economic status, he added.