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

According to an official of Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, it is expected that all the integrated efforts will ensure availability of an effective and safe vaccine as and when it becomes available globally.

He said that in addition, the government is making efficient arrangements for effective supply chain management of vaccine and required manpower needs where required. 

The official said that Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) is also working to streamline the regulatory process for its expeditiously registration without compromising the vaccine safety and efficacy. 

He 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 prioritized the groups most likely to be the initial recipients of a potential vaccine. 

The official said that COVID-19 has devastated health systems and economy at global level and an effective COVID-19 vaccine is a possible long term strategy against Coronavirus. 

He said that since January 2020, sincere efforts were made globally to develop a COVID-19 vaccine in shortest time possible and in this scenario, the initial news of a potential effective vaccine is good news, he added.  He said that an expert committee on COVID-19 vaccine, which comprises of 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. 

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

In the meantime, other vaccine manufacturers are also expected to publish preliminary results of their human trial in coming weeks, which are 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, he added. 

He said that 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 satisfactory, he added.