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Covid-19: Govt ‘miserably failed’ to vaccinate public: Senate – Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: The Senate, on Monday, noted that the government of Pakistan has “miserably failed” to vaccinate the general public against Covid-19, and urged the government to provide either free of cost corona vaccine to the people or as per original international market price.

The house passed a resolution with the majority of 43 votes against 31 votes.

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The resolution was moved by the JUI-F Kamran Murtaza and was supported by all the opposition members.

The resolution states: “The House is cognizant of the fact that in order to cope up with the international pandemic of Covid-19, all countries of the world are striving to divert resources for free vaccination of their people against corona virus while the government of Pakistan has miserably failed to vaccinate the general public and has only prioritized the vaccination of senior citizens and front line health workers in the country.”

It further noted that the House is also cognizant of the fact that the government has allowed the import of Russian made anti-corona vaccine Sputnik by private firms and has fixed the price at Rs8,400 per two doses as against the international market price of Rs1,500.

“Amid the current economic crunch in the country caused by Covid-19 pandemic, it is not possible for the general public to afford the exorbitant prices of the said anti-corona, which is in violation of Article 38 of the Constitution of Pakistan,” the resolution notes.

The House, therefore, urges upon the Government to provide either free of cost anti-corona vaccine to the general public or as per original international market price, it further stated.

On the vaccination over a resolution by Kamran Murtaza, senators belonging to opposition criticised the government for no adequate measures to vaccinate the people.

The motion seeks the government either to give the Russian vaccine free of cost or it should be available at the company price in the market.

Sherry Rehman said that the government has failed to initiated the mass vaccinataiton campaign.

She said that the latest variant is believed to have come via direct flights from the UK.

The vaccines that came from China disappeared in Punjab.

While responding, Special Assistant on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety to the Prime Minister Senator Sania Nishtar said that the government has fixed prices of the vaccine under drug pricing policy in a transparent manner.

She said that as per worldwide norm and the WHO guidelines, elderly people and frontline health workers are being given the vaccine on priority basis.

Through an SRO, she added that the price of vaccine was fixed as per the company rates for the private sector, adding that the prices have been determined as per the policy.

However, she added that some private sector companies have obtained a stay in Sindh.

She urged the entire society to combat the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic and make vaccination drive a success.

She said that the pandemic is a national security issue and “we should deal with it keeping politics aside”.

She said the government successfully dealt with the first two waves of the virus keeping in view the lives and livelihood of citizens.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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