Officials in Pakistan said that the nation would receive 16 million doses of Made in India Oxford’s Covoishield vaccination for its inoculation drive. The comments came when the government officers were informing the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly of Pakistan.
In the briefing, it was said that the country was relying on the Gavi vaccine alliance which is providing vaccines free of cost as compared to the Chinese vaccine Cansino which costs 13 US dollars or about 2000 in Pakistani currency. The first batch of Covishield which is being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India will reach Pakistan by mid-March while the rest is expected to arrive in June.
Indian has been one of the most important partners in the fight against COVID as it is expected to produce 3.6 billion COVID doses anually which is the largest in the world. The country has already started sending batches of vaccines to several nations under its Vaccine diplomacy program named ‘Vaccine Maitri’.
Pakistan has been allocated a total of 45 million vaccine doses by Gavi which was established in the year 2000 to provide equitable vaccine access to the poorest parts of the planet. It is working with COVAX which is an agreement that was conceptualised in April 2020 by the WHO, the European Commission, and France. The idea was to bring ‘ together governments, global health organisations, manufacturers, scientists, private sector, civil society, and philanthropy, with the aim of providing innovative and equitable access to COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines.’
COVAX is based on four approaches which are:
- Connecting companies who are producing vaccines with other companies who have excess capacity to fill and finish.
- Bilateral technology transfer through which the company can transfer its patent to another company to produce vaccines.
- Coordinated technology transfer under which universities and manufacturers will license their vaccines to other companies through a global mechanism coordinated by WHO, which will also involve training of staff at the recipient companies and coordinate investments in infrastructure.
- Giving countries across the world the right to manufacture vaccines by waiving of intellectual property rights as provided by the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement.