‘NCOC finalised recommendations for procurement of COVID-19 vaccine’


ISLAMABAD – Talha Akhtar:

Federal Minister for Planning and Development and the head of National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) Asad Umar said on Monday that the forum has finalised its recommendations for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine today.

Asad Umar, after chairing a session of NCOC, said in his Twitter message that the task force of experts headed by Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan had developed the recommendations which were discussed and finalised today.

The recommendations will be presented to the federal cabinet tomorrow for its approval, he added.

On November 23, it emerged that the federal government had decided to approach international donors for financial assistance to purchase COVID-19 vaccine.

The government is likely to contact the World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and UNICEF for funding for the bulk-buying of doses of the vaccine. The health ministry will approach the multilateral donors through the Economic Affairs Division.

It will negotiate with them for financial assistance or a loan with no strings attached, the sources said, adding the health ministry has begun working on a coherent plan for the purpose.

It is noteworthy to mention here that the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) had earlier approved a technical supplementary grant worth $150 million for the advance purchase of coronavirus vaccine.

Earlier in the month, Pakistan made a decision to purchase the possible vaccines of COVID-19 in advance and permission was sought from the Prime Minister Imran Khan by the health ministry, sources privy to the development told, adding that the health ministry recommended purchases of potential coronavirus vaccines under last-stage trials and allocation of $100 million funds for its advance booking.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had also approved specific funding for the advance purchase of the Covid-19 vaccine, according to a statement released by the Ministry of National Health Services Regulation.