ISLAMABAD    -  The Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) on Thursday said that clinical trials of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine are in progress in the country with satisfactory developments.

In a statement issued here, the ministry while welcoming the development of COVID-19 vaccine said that full data is still awaited and after that the situation will be clear.

The ministry also said that a comprehensive strategy is in place to ensure provision of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine when it becomes available.

A statement issued said that COVID-19 has devastated health systems and the economy at global level. An effective COVID-19 vaccine is a possible long term strategy against COVID-19 virus.

According to a statement issued by the Ministry of NHSR&C, since January 2020, there has been intense global efforts to develop a COVID-19 vaccine in the shortest time possible. In this scenario, the initial news of a potential effective vaccine is good news.

The efficacy of preliminary results of the experimental COVID-19 vaccine is reported to be 90% of participants. While these results look encouraging but full data is awaited and only after the availability and review of this data will the situation be clear.

In the meantime, other vaccine manufacturers are also expected to publish preliminary results of their human trial in coming weeks, which have been keenly observed in the global community and experts in Pakistan.  This pace of discovery is unprecedented and reflects the collective global effort in making it happen.

It said that the government has a COVID-19 vaccine strategy in place which was developed in response to data and global best practices. Under this strategy, the government has prioritised the groups most likely to be the initial recipients of a potential vaccine.

An expert committee on COVID-19 vaccine, which comprises public health and infectious diseases experts from public and private sector has been the source of technical oversight and review of safety and efficacy data coming in from trials.

Another committee has been negotiating with leading COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers and has identified leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates for introduction in Pakistan which includes companies from across the globe.

The government is also in close contact with COVAX and GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccine Immunization) alliance through which it is expecting to negotiate a significant quantity of vaccine for Pakistani population as early as possible. Clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccine are also in progress in Pakistan which are progressing satisfactorily.

The Prime Minister has shown special interest in ensuring quality vaccines at the earliest for Pakistani population. The government has, in principle, approved specific funding to obtain an effective vaccine.

In addition, the Government is making efficient arrangements for effective supply chain management of vaccines and required manpower needs where required. Furthermore, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan is also working to streamline the regulatory process for its expeditious registration without compromising the vaccine safety and efficacy. It is expected that all the above integrated efforts will ensure availability of an effective and safe vaccine as and when it becomes available globally