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September 15, 2020

Faisal determined to ensure timely availability of COVID-19 vaccine

Islamabad

September 15, 2020

Islamabad:Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr. Faisal Sultan Monday affirmed his firm commitment to ensure timely availability of COVID-19 vaccine that complies with global standards of safety and efficacy, once globally approved.

The SAPM was speaking at a national consultation meeting on COVID-19 vaccine was organized by the Health and Population Think Tank (HPTT), Health Services Academy. The meeting was attended by relevant stakeholders, leadership of the federal and provincial health departments, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Education, National Command and Control Center, Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan, pharmaceutical sector, and technical experts on infectious diseases from the National Institute of Health (NIH) and Aga Khan University and others.

International experts from the Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation and the Food and Drug Administration Authority provided technical input on latest COVID-19 developments and regulatory frameworks. The discussion started with a briefing on the political perspectives engulfing COVID-19 vaccine and its international standing. Regulatory framework and practices were discussed to comply with global safety standards.

A detailed discussion took place on how the communication strategies should be shaped and developed, knowing the perception challenges of the vaccine in Pakistan and the development of fast-track transparent system for its approval and registration.

Dr. Anita Zaidi, Director of Vaccine Development, discussed how COVID-19 vaccine development became a geopolitical issue rather than purely technical vaccine development challenge. She highlighted various challenges and potential solutions related to COVID-19 vaccine management. Dr Sarfraz K Niazi, Advisor on Vaccine Regulations, apprised the participants on regulatory challenges affiliated with the vaccine. Vice Chancellor of HSA and Chair of the National Vaccine Committee shared the progress on issues of COVID-19 vaccine development, registration and implementation.

Other participants highlighted the issues of equity, effective communication stra­tegies, gender-based distr­­i­b­ution, costs, and subsidies for the Covid-19 vaccine. The meeting concluded with consensus for a timely response and effective decision-making for vaccine selection, regulation, deployment to priority groups and adequate implementation plan for COVID-19 vaccine in Pakistan.