‘Govt in talks with WB, ADB to get Covid-19 jabs for 23.5m people’

Published April 8, 2021
The ministry of National Health Services has informed the Sindh High Court that a cabinet committee for Covid-19 vaccine procurement has been set up. — AP/File
The ministry of National Health Services has informed the Sindh High Court that a cabinet committee for Covid-19 vaccine procurement has been set up. — AP/File

KARACHI: The ministry of National Health Services has informed the Sindh High Court that a cabinet committee for Covid-19 vaccine procurement has been set up and an amount of $150 million is also allocated.

In its reply filed in response to two petitions seeking vaccination of people, the ministry submitted that successful negotiations had also been conducted with the World Bank (WB) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) to mange resources for procurement of vaccines for 10 million and 13.5m people, respectively.

In the meanwhile, negotiations were also under way to initiate shared local production with a Chinese firm (CanSinoBio) through collaboration with the National Institute of Health, it maintained.

The ministry further submitted that 1.5m doses of Sinopharm vaccine had been received through a grant and 1m doses through procurement and 60,000 doses of CanSinoBio were also procured.

It said that 5m doses each of Sinopharm would be arriving during this month and 3m doses of CanSinoBio were likely to be received during the current month.

An independent expert committee, under the auspices of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan, would ensure that only safe and efficacious vaccines were imported for different age groups, it added.

The ministry further said that Pakistan was going to benefit from in-kind assistance from Gavi’s Covax facility for vaccinating around 45m people.

The bench headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar adjourned the hearing for three weeks after an assistant attorney general sought time to file comments in the third petition about Covid-19 vaccination.

Restraining order issued

Another division bench issued a restraining order not to create any third-party interest in a housing scheme being reportedly planned on the premises of the Sir Henry Holland Mission Eye Hospital in Shikarpur.

The bench headed by Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi also directed the Church Missionary Trust Association (CMTA) to file comments and enclose the title documents, if any, in its possession within 15 days.

Petitioner Shahab Usto submitted that the hospital was built by missionaries in 1910 on land measuring 25,068 square yards and it had been providing high-quality free medical services not only to the locals but also to the people from other part of the province. However, the operation of the British-era health facility had been suspended a few years ago, he added.

He said that the CMTA had illegally transferred the land in question to a man allegedly on a fake general power of attorney to launch a housing scheme and the layout plan was also illegally approved by the Sindh Building Control Authority.

Published in Dawn, April 8th, 2021

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