ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Monday signed an agreement with Pfizer Pakistan under which it would receive 13 million doses of the American vaccine.
On the other hand, over 600 diplomats from 57 countries have been vaccinated at the National Institute of Health (NIH).
According to a statement issued by a publicity firm, the agreement was signed by Pfizer Pakistan and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to supply 13 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (BNT162b2). Deliveries are planned during the course of 2021.
“We are deeply honoured to work with the Pakistani government and to marshal our scientific and manufacturing resources toward our shared goal of bringing a Covid-19 vaccine to the people of Pakistan as quickly as possible,” said Pfizer Pakistan Country Manager Syed Mohammad Wajeehuddin in a statement.
“In the face of this global health crisis, Pfizer’s purpose — breakthroughs that change patients’ lives — has taken on an even greater urgency. Our hope is that our vaccine will help make this happen,” he said.
Chief Business and Chief Commercial Officer at BioNTech Sean Marett also thanked the Pakistani government for its support and putting trust in their ability to develop a vaccine that, they believed, had the potential to help address this global pandemic threat.
“Our goal remains to deliver a global supply of a well-tolerated and effective Covid-19 vaccine for many people around the world, as quickly as we can,” Mr Marett said.
Pfizer and BioNTech aim to manufacture more than three billion doses of the vaccine globally by the end of this year.
Meanwhile, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) reported 30 deaths and 907 new cases in the last 24 hours, with the number of active cases recorded at 34,020.
As many as 2,497 patients were under treatment in hospitals across the country and 283 on ventilators.
A total of 630 diplomats and employees of the United Nations (UN) agencies have been vaccinated at the NIH, the institute’s data revealed.
An official of the NIH, requesting not to be named, said according to rules, only Pakistani nationals were entitled to the free vaccine, but last month it was decided to allow diplomats and employees of UN agencies to avail the facility.
“So far over 630 people from 57 countries have been vaccinated. As per procedure, embassies and UN agencies share the list of employees with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for inoculation. We have established a vaccination centre at the NIH for diplomats and foreigners,” he said.
Replying to a question, the official said the diplomats were given the choice from available vaccines and majority opted for Chinese vaccines.
“Some of the diplomats wanted to be inoculated with AstraZeneca. There was also a demand for Pfizer, but they were told that the American vaccine could only be given to immuno-compromised persons,” he said.
It is worth mentioning here that so far 100,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine have arrived under Covax, an international alliance which has pledged free vaccine for 20pc population of Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi visited the NIH on Monday and reviewed the arrangements made for vaccination. NIH Executive Director Maj Gen Aamer Ikram was also present on the occasion.
In another development, the Ministry of National Health Services received the second shipment of the emergency medical equipment donated by the US government through USAID Pakistan.
The shipment includes personal protective equipment that can be used by more than 13,500 frontline healthcare workers and 600 ICU and operation theatre staff. The items will be distributed in close coordination with provincial and regional governments and the medical equipment will be supplied to designated secondary and tertiary care hospitals from next week.
Published in Dawn, June 22nd, 2021