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PMA lauds Federal Government for allowing companies to import COVID-19 vaccines

KARACHI: The Pakistan Medical Association appreciated the Federal Government’s decision to allow private companies to import the corona vaccine, but the decision of excluding the imported vaccines from the strict price cap regime that is typically applied to all drug sales within the country is not fair.

Secretary-General, Pakistan Medical Association (Centre), Dr S M Qaisar Sajjad, in his statement, said it would give a free hand to the companies to fix the vaccine prices of their own choice. Thus the vaccine prices will be higher. The PMA believes that the vaccine price matters should be dealt with as per the rules applied to all imported drugs, and no price cap exemption should be given to any imported corona vaccine.

Dr Sajjad is also concerned about the supply chain of the vaccine. It should be strictly maintained according to the required standards so that its efficacy can be maintained. The vaccination drive for healthcare workers in Pakistan, which started on 3rd February 2021, is moving very slowly because of confusion among healthcare workers. The Government should start a massive campaign through the media to rule out all the vaccine’s suspicions and fears.

Dr Qaisar Sajjad said that the vaccine, which is presently being administered to healthcare workers, is not recommended for those who are older than 60 years. We request the Government to immediately import such vaccines, which can be administered to healthcare workers above sixty. We reiterate that at present, the vaccine should be administered to healthcare workers only because healthcare workers are dying every day due to the coronavirus. To date, 188 doctors and 30 paramedics have died due to this deadly virus.

He said that the PMA also believes that the people working at private health facilities and general practitioners, who are running their own clinics, all are frontline soldiers, so they should also be vaccinated on a priority basis.

He said that the healthcare workers’ registration helpline 1166 for vaccination is not functioning properly. We suggest that all provincial governments establish their own registration desks or helpline for healthcare workers in their respective provinces to make the process more effective and smoother.

February 17, 2021

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