ISLAMABAD: As the international Covax alliance, which promised to provide Pakistan with 50 million free doses of Covid-19 vaccine, won contracts for two billion doses, Dr. Faisal Sultan, Special Assistant to Prime Minister for Health, expressed hope that the vaccine will be acquired at the earliest.
Dr Sultan, speaking to Dharti News, said he was aware of the progress that Covax has made.
We assume that we will have the vaccine at the earliest, as a nation with a huge population. We already have bilateral arrangements to vaccinate a significant portion of the population,” he said.
Covax is an international coalition that has offered free vaccine for nearly 190 nations, including Pakistan, with a population of 20pc. It is hoped that by the end of the first quarter, or just after the beginning of the second quarter of 2021, the nation will obtain the first consignment.
In the other side, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), alleged that rich nations had bought the bulk of the stock, encouraging producers to prioritise Covax supply as the vaccine had not yet been purchased by low- and most middle-income countries.
Pakistan, meanwhile, recorded more than 2,000 more coronavirus cases in a single day, with 40 individuals succumbing to virus.
In another trend, the Gallup survey reported that seven out of 10 Pakistanis believe the Covid-19 crisis was well managed by the government.
Special Assistant Dr Faisal Sultan said that the vaccination process in Pakistan was split into three stages with preference for health practitioners and those over 65 years of age, followed by the 60-65 age group and other healthcare workers. In the second phase, the number of persons to be vaccinated is about 7 million, Dr. Sultan said, adding that in the third phase, which will be finished by November this year, the remaining individuals will be vaccinated.
At present, 42 countries are rolling out safe and efficient vaccines for Covid-19, of which 36 are high-income countries and six are medium-income countries. So there is a strong concern that the vaccine is not being given to low- and most middle-income countries yet. This is a dilemma we should and we must solve by Covax together. Rich countries purchased up much of the stock of several vaccines at the onset. Now we’re also seeing both high and middle-income countries make additional bilateral agreements as part of Covax. This actually bumps up the price for all and ensures that high-risk populations do not get the vaccine in the poorest and most disadvantaged nations, he said.
Seven in 10 (73pc) Pakistanis claim that the government managed the Covid-19 crisis well, according to a Gallup Pakistan Survey and related polls conducted around the world by the Worldwide Independent Network of Market Research, whereas 23pc believe it did a poor job.
In other nations, better scores for governments after the Covid-19 pandemic are also seen as people rallying behind their political officials in challenging times.
As many as 26,759 people from 32 countries around the world were interviewed about the pandemic during the study titled ‘Covid-19: Government Management of the Epidemic’.
Pakistan recorded 73 percent satisfaction with the government’s handling of the crisis, the same as the Asia Pacific region’s average. In terms of satisfaction with government control of the crisis, Pakistan ranks 8th out of 32 countries surveyed,” the survey report stated.
Over 2,000 cases reported
According to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) statistics, 2,007 cases and 40 casualties were recorded in a single day, with 305 ventilators in use nationally.
45 percent of the vents reserved for Covid-19 patients were occupied in Bahawalpur, 44pc in Multan, 40pc in Islamabad and 33pc in Lahore.
The data further showed that the number of open cases was registered at 33,474 as of Saturday.