Pakistan approves $150 million grant for COVID-19 vaccines

About ten million doses of the vaccine will be available in Pakistan under the current proposal

The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet approved $150 million grant for the procurement of the COVID-19 vaccines. The meeting was presided over by the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Hafeez Shaikh.

ECC assessed a proposal submitted by the ministry of national health services, regulations and coordination and gave the in principle approval of the provision of technical supplementary grant of $150 million for the purchase of the COVID-19 vaccine. The current amount is enough to acquire Covid vaccines for 10 million people, roughly 5% of the population. Currently, Pakistan to date has had 371,000 cases approximately. Currently, there are about 35,000 active cases in Pakistan.

ECC has asked the Ministry of NHS to get in touch with the relevant stakeholders and come up with a bulletproof plan. The funds for the vaccine will not be provided by the ministry of finance but rather procured through a donor agency.

“The ECC further directed the Ministry of NHS to discuss the proposal with the WB and other donors in coordination with the Economic Affairs Division so that they could assist in providing financial facility for the procurement of the vaccine during the first phase and for the procurement of additional quantities in future as needed,” said the Finance Ministry.

One of the members of the ECC sugested that the government should charge the cost of the vaccine from those who can afford it in order to lessen the burden on the budget. It is expected that a proven vaccine would be available for its use in the first half of 2021.

The Ministry of NHS had sent a letter to the GAVI – originally the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization – with the intent to get the coronavirus vaccines free of cost or at subsidized rates for 20% of its population. The subsidized vaccines are expected to be available at the latter part of 2021.

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