India will send at least 45 million vaccine doses to Pakistan as part of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, or GAVI. The vaccine agreed upon is Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield vaccine that is manufactured by the Serum Institute of India. The first batch is scheduled to arrive in Pakistan in the middle of March.
All charges of the vaccine, from manufacture to delivery, have been waived off by GAVI as part of the initiative to provide free vaccines to poor countries. While the first batch of AstraZeneca’s Covishield vaccine is expected to land in Pakistan in mid-March, the remaining doses will arrive in waves within June.
Pakistan is reliant on free vaccine doses so as to vaccinate its population. GAVI has been helping it and other poor countries with this. It was initially speculated that Pakistan would use the Chinese-made CanSino vaccine, this did not happen because China was adamant on charging $13 (2,000 Pakistani rupees) per dose, a price Pakistan can ill afford. Although, Phase 3 trials of the CanSino vaccine consisting of 18,000 volunteers were completed in Pakistan with an efficacy rate of 75% being recorded.
During the meeting of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), led by Chairman Rana Tanveer Hussain, members from the Ministry of National Health Services and the National Institute of Health (NIH) discussed the details of the delivery of vaccines to Pakistan. A news outlet also released some contents of the meeting. It reported that there was a general lack of prospective buyers from private corporations. The requests for vaccines sent were from questionable origins and had a profound lack of specifications, even the name and quantity of the vaccine requested.