Pakistan’s Vaccine Procurement and Roll-Out plan

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Vaccine Procurement

In a major development, the National Command and Operation Centre on Monday decided to open registration of around 12 million people in the age group of 40 to 50 years and allowed walk-in vaccination facility for citizens over 50.

In the NCOC meeting, various central objectives on Pakistan’s Vaccine Procurement and Roll-Out plan were also discussed.

Here are highlights from the meeting of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on the Vaccine Procurement and Roll-Out plan;

Global Supply Issue

 Pakistan has allocated $150 million for vaccine procurement and has already been utilizing it to purchase from China. 

 However, the supply of vaccines is low, and countries worldwide are struggling to purchase doses. Therefore, this is a widespread issue and not specific to Pakistan. 

 Even countries like Australia have faced roadblocks. Australia has vaccinated 1.6 million people, which is less than the number of people vaccinated in Pakistan.

Not Dependent on Donations

Pakistan never depended on donations to vaccinate our population. It explored multiple channels of acquiring vaccine doses.  

The country pursued COVAX in the interest of time because it was the biggest purchaser of vaccines. COVAX had better access to vaccines and could provide doses sooner. 

 COVAX does not offer vaccine doses to all countries that request but only to meet strict criteria of preparedness. Pakistan’s plan met the criteria and was appreciated widely by all global stakeholders.

Accordingly, an allocation of over 17 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine was made to Pakistan by June 2021, with an indication of arrival starting early March. 

Successful in Purchasing

Pakistan has been successful in purchasing vaccine doses from China and is continuing to purchase more. 

Since there is no hope for a significant supply from the U.S, India, or Russia any time soon, all countries capable of purchasing are trying to strike deals with China now.

 However, Pakistan still managed to sign deals with three different Chinese manufacturers for procuring 30 million doses.

 Over 3 million procured doses have arrived in Pakistan, while 1.7 million doses have been given as a grant by China.

 Pakistan’s deals with manufacturers also include provisions for technology transfer and joint manufacturing.

 Pakistan’s vaccine roll-out is continuing uninterrupted having opened up vaccinations for 40+.

Fully Prepared and Invested in Vaccine Roll-Out

 A successful vaccine roll-out involves far more than just procurement. A significant part of any country’s efforts to vaccinate its population is preparing storage, delivery, and administration.  

 Training of Human Resource

An efficient system is in place for training or frontline health staff to handle different vaccines and robust surveillance for any adverse events linked to vaccine administration.

Storage and Cold Chain

● 15,000 cold freezers

● 23 ultra-cold freezers 

Delivery/Administration

● 1200 Number of CVCs (COVID Vaccination Centers) set up

● 22 Mass Vaccination Centers established with an average daily capacity of 5,000 vaccinations

● Over 2 million person-hours devoted 

● Over 2 million vaccinations as of the 26th of April, 2021

 Waste Disposal

● Protocols for waste collection, segregation, interim storage, transportation, and environment-friendly disposal of the waste were ensured.

 ● Environmental & Social Management Plan (ESMP) plan implemented to manage the sudden arrival of millions of vials and syringes used to administer the vaccine. 

 ● The potential reuse of syringes posed the grave threat of other infectious diseases (HIV, Hepatitis, etc.) spreading. Environment-friendly incinerators were installed for proper disposal.

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