Pakistan will allow private companies to import corona virus vaccines and has left the vaccine at a low price-avoidance distribution, leading health experts to fear widespread inequality in access.
The country is roaming around to secure vaccine supplies, but so far only Chinese-made synoform drugs have been used. 500,000 food items were donated to Pakistan this month.
Like many other countries, Pakistan is relying on the GV / WHO vaccine initiative, but so far it does not expect any of the 17 million doses.
Cabinet approves unlimited import of coronavirus vaccine, which can be sold to consumers. No price was set.
In the cabinet, Federal Minister Fawad Chaudhry said that if the private sector was not included in the vaccination drive, it would be impossible for Pakistan to vaccinate its population of more than 220 million.
“The cabinet has allowed unlimited imports,” Chaudhry said. “For those who can afford vaccines, we are allowing the private sector to take advantage of this business opportunity.” For those who cannot afford these vaccines, the government will arrange for them. This will result in an effective vaccination campaign.
Responding to concerns about the lack of a price cap, Chaudhry said that “market control” efforts “always fail” when involved in the private sector.
Chaudhry said he had advised the Pakistan Drug Regulatory Authority against the price hike. “Price regulations for private vaccines will be a barrier to private imports,” he said.
Four vaccines have received emergency approval, including the Russian Sputnik vaccine, the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine and two Chinese vaccines.
The Sputnik vaccine will be the first to be available for commercial sale, with plans to ship it next week for distribution through a private lab. This is a vaccine that requires medication. 10 (20 7.20) will be sold in one jaw.
The government was divided over the decision not to increase the sale price. Faisal Sultan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Health, said: “The price cannot be fixed at this time as there is no reference price available for setting the number.” However, he said that “once the vaccine is available, the price will be fixed.”
A health official working with the Ministry of National Health Services said talks were underway with various countries on price limits. “It is not possible to get the vaccine approved for commercial use in Pakistan without strict pricing regulations,” he said.
Muhammad Iqbal Khan, a professor at Shifa Tamir Millat University, said that with the introduction of the private sector in polio vaccination in Pakistan, access to the vaccine is possible only for the wealthy and well-to-do.
“It’s up to the government and how they go about the vaccination campaign and how to implement it,” he said. “The government has to be very clear on this issue. It should focus on its large poor population. Due to rising inflation and poverty, half of Pakistan’s population is struggling with basic needs. Health itself is a fundamental right. The government should make sure everyone gets vaccinated.
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