ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has achieved another milestone of administering 120 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine.
According to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), 120,448,598 doses of vaccine have been administered since the vaccination drive began in the country in February this year.
It said on Saturday that 78,845,170 people have received at least one dose of vaccine and 49,010,906 others have become fully vaccinated.
The NCOC said in a tweet that due to ongoing national MR [measles rubella] campaign (Nov 15-27), Covid-19 vaccine administration for children between 12-15 years will remain suspended till Nov 27.
It said another 319 people were infected and seven others succumbed to the virus in the last 24 hours, while national positivity remained at 0.81 per cent.
The NCOC claimed that the number of active cases was 22,479 and 1,117 patients were admitted to hospitals as of Nov 20.
Spokesperson for the Ministry of National Health Services Sajid Shah told Dawn that it was a major achievement that over 120m doses of vaccine have been administered.
“Although the pace of the vaccination has been slowed down due to the decision that children from 12 to 15 will not be vaccinated, we are hopeful that the number of vaccinations will again increase from Nov 29,” he said.
Mr Shah said that the ministry was trying to make sure that 70m vaccine eligible people would be inoculated before the end of this calendar year.
“We have ample quantity of vaccines and more vaccines will arrive in a few months through the international alliance Covax, which has pledged to provide free vaccines for 20pc population, and through procurement,” he said.
He said as per the federal cabinet’s directives, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) has issued a code of conduct for health professionals and pharmaceutical companies.
“Now pharmaceutical companies cannot pay cash amounts or provide incentives to doctors and strict action would be taken in case of violations. Moreover, pharmaceutical companies will not be allowed to pay for the travel expenses of doctors and their family members. They have been made bound to provide details of expenditure on scientific and educational conferences and even during those conferences companies will not be able to spend unnecessary amounts,” he said.
An official of Drap said that pharmaceutical companies should also be stopped from arranging inspection visits of the Authority’s officers.
“As Drap registers medicines after visiting the manufacturing units of pharmaceutical companies, and inspects the units, a number of multinational pharmaceutical companies pay for the inspection visits of Drap officers to different countries. This practice should be stopped as it is a perfect example of conflict of interest,” he said.
Published in Dawn, November 21st, 2021