Govt approves $150m grant to procure Covid-19 vaccine | Pakistan Today

Govt approves $150m grant to procure Covid-19 vaccine

The federal cabinet has approved the grant of $150 million to procure Covid-19 vaccine, which it hopes will be available to the public in the first quarter of 2021.

This was announced by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on National Health Services Dr Faisal Sultan along with Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz while giving details about decisions taken by the federal cabinet, which met in Islamabad on Tuesday.

Dr Faisal confirmed that the cabinet approved the Economic Coordination Committee’s (ECC) recommendation to allocate $150 million to acquire a vaccine for the novel coronavirus.

The SAPM said that the vaccine is a “moving target”, but added, “I think its first stage will be possible in the first quarter of 2021.”

He also said that for this purpose, few companies have been shortlisted, contacted and initial conversation has been started with them.  He added that the vaccine would be administered in stages; the first stage would provide the vaccine to frontline healthcare workers, the second stage would facilitate the elderly and at-risk population, and in the third stage it would be available to the general public.

“The government will fund this [and] take on this responsibility so nobody will be burdened,” he further said.

“In a nutshell, the federal government approved that a procedure be adopted as soon as possible to make possible the procurement of a safe and effective vaccine,” the SAPM said, adding that the government will be open to tapping more than one source “including Western and Chinese manufacturers”.

Furthermore, the price of the 100-milligram injection of remdesivir, a drug used to treat Covid-19 patients in specific conditions, has been slashed from Rs9,244 to Rs5,660 in view of prevailing international prices, Dr Faisal said.

Commenting on PDM’s recent public rally in Multan, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz urged the opposition not to play with the lives of people for its personal gains as the second wave of coronavirus is at its peak in the country.

He said that public rallies are banned to protect people from the coronavirus and the government will deal with the violators legally instead of putting hard restrictions.

The minister said that in Tuesday’s meeting, the cabinet was apprised on the latest development of the Ravi and Bundal Island projects. It was informed that investors have expressed their full satisfaction on the steps taken for the development of the construction sector by Prime Minister Imran Khan, therefore, they are willing to invest in these megaprojects.

He said that the forum was informed that these projects are planned to keep the environment clean and attract foreign investment.