Tuesday Jan 19 2021
Web Desk

Sindh Health Dept recommends setting aside Rs1.5b for coronavirus vaccine procurement

Web Desk
A Reuters representational image.

  • Health dept recommends setting aside Rs1.5b for vaccine procurement
  • DRAP has approved two COVID-19 vaccines so far

KARACHI: Sindh Health Department on Tuesday recommended an allocation of Rs1.5 billion for procurement of anti-coronavirus vaccines.

The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has granted approval for emergency use of two coronavirus vaccines - the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine with 70.4% efficacy and China's Sinopharm vaccine with an efficacy of 79% - while phase III clinical trials of the third vaccine by CanSino will be completed by the first week of February.

A spokesperson for the provincial health department said a draft will be prepared sent to seek the approval of Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah. The provincial government is negotiating the import of COVID-19 vaccines with two private companies, according to Geo News. 

Read more: Pakistan crosses 11,000 COVID-19 deaths as two vaccines get approved for emergency use

The development comes after National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) chief Asad Umar asserted that DRAP's decision meant the federal and provincial governments, as well as the private sector, was free to import and roll out the approved vaccines.

With a new coronavirus variant threatening the country's prevention measures to curb the pandemic, Pakistan has seen an uptick in coronavirus infections as 40,833 people tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 since the beginning of the new year.

The number of coronavirus deaths in Pakistan surged to 11,055 on Tuesday. Since the start of January 2021, the country has witnessed 48.8 deaths on average every day with hospital intensive care units nearing capacity across the country as active COVID-19 cases surge to 35,485.

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said on Tuesday that the provincial government has completed preparations for the COVID-19 vaccination drive by training 637 staff in 189 hospitals. 

Related: Provinces free to import coronavirus vaccine, says NCOC chief Asad Umar