The chief of the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) — the body leading Pakistan’s fight against coronavirus — on Wednesday said that he has authorised the procurement of more than one million vaccines.
Asad Umar, in his statement on Twitter, said that the number “will cover all frontline health workers”.
He said what remains now is for DRAP (Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan) to approve a vaccine.
Umar said that the government aims to deploy the vaccines within the first quarter of 2021.
According to a statement by NCOC, Pakistan is in close contact with vaccine manufacturers to obtain a vaccine soon.
It may be noted here that Pakistan signed up for the United Nation’s COVAX Facility, a global initiative aimed at equitable access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines worldwide.
Moreover, a National Immunisation Management System has been prepared with the joint efforts of the Ministry of Health, the National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA), and National Information Technology Board (NITB).
The statement said that an effective supply of the vaccine will be ensured through the system.
Citizens will register themselves through SMS and online for vaccinations.
The system will become fully operational by mid-January, according to the NCOC statement.
Around 13,000 people have volunteered for the coronavirus vaccine trials across the country, a health official said back in mid December.
The first human trials of the vaccine, developed by the Chinese company CanSino Biologics Inc, started on September 22 in Pakistan.
Since then, the country has administered the experimental vaccine to 13,000 people, Dr Ejaz Khan, chairman of infection control at Shifa Hospital in Islamabad overlooking the trials.
Vaccine trials are being conducted at five centres in Pakistan — two in Karachi, two in Lahore and one in Islamabad.