INDIA will supply made-in-India Covid-19 vaccines to Pakistan through the Covax facility, which is the global alliance for supplying vaccines across the world, sources said on Tuesday.
They said Pakistan will get the vaccines under the global facility. The quantum has not yet been arrived at, and it could take some more time before the logistics and the approvals come through. But, it will go directly from India to Pakistan.
Pakistan’s drug regulator, Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan, had approved Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use in January this year. This was the first Covid-19 vaccine to be granted approval.
India has supplied vaccines at least 65 countries so far under three categories – under Covax, in the form of grant (free of cost) and through commercial sales.
According to the Ministry of External Affairs records, 579.19 lakh doses have been supplied in all. About 163 lakh doses have been supplied under Covax, 77 lakh doses under grant and 338 lakh doses under commercial deals. Bangladesh tops list of countries that have got vaccines with 90 lakh doses.
The thinking in Islamabad is that it can get the vaccine through the Covax facility. Covax is an alliance set up by Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and World Health Organization in April last year. It has pledged provision of free vaccines for 20 per cent of the population in around 190 countries, including Pakistan.
A source had told The Indian Express that one of the vaccine manufacturers in India has reached out to the Pakistan government to supply vaccines in the past few months.
While bilateral trade between India and Pakistan has been adversely impacted with the deterioration in ties in 2019, the supply of “life-saving medicines” is exempt and can be done through the bilateral route.
Bilateral trade has almost stopped in the past two years – first after the Pulwama terror attack of February 2019, and later after the special status of Jammu and Kashmir was withdrawn and the state was bifurcated into two Union Territories.
New Delhi: The Centre on Tuesday told the states that there is no shortage of vaccine doses in any state and directed them to register and activate all private facilities for Covid-19 vaccination drive.
Dr P K Misra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, chaired a high-level meeting to review the status and progress of vaccination across states. During the meeting, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba told chief secretaries to ramp up the vaccination drive and prepare a detailed road map on inoculation for the next three months.
Tuesday’s meeting came in the backdrop of India administering more than 20 lakh doses (on Monday) in a single day, the highest reported so far. According to the ministry, 2,40,37,644 vaccine doses have been given, as per the provisional report until 7 pm Tuesday.
“It was reiterated that there is no shortage of vaccine doses in any State and UT,” the ministry said in a statement. “All states were advised to register and activate all private facilities and provide sufficient stock of vaccines to private facilities for 15-28 days so that these facilities can offer online open slots to citizens. Visibility of more open slots not only assures the citizens about the services but also helps avoid overcrowding on account of perceived scarcity in absence of clear visibility of vaccination slots.”
During the meeting, the Centre asked states to ensure convenient registration and directing vaccination centres to publish sessions for up to four weeks. “States and UTs were particularly urged to leverage the private sector to the maximum to enhance coverage, taking advantage of the liberal enabling guidelines issued by the Centre; registering and activating as many private facilities as possible,providing sufficient stock of vaccines necessary for these centres to work at their optimum and providing any other facilitation required,” the Centre said. ENS
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