Pakistani authorities have decided to cap the maximum retail price of the Russian and Chinese COVID-19 vaccines imported by private firms, amid a sharp increase in coronavirus cases in the country. The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) last week notified the procedure for determining the maximum retail prices of imported COVID-19 vaccines in the country. Official sources said that the maximum sale price of Sputnik V Russian vaccine will be fixed at Rs8,449 for two doses and China’s Convidecia at Rs4,225 per injection.
In Pakistan, COVID-19 vaccination is so far being carried out through the Adult Vaccination Counters (AVCs). However, the government’s response to procure vaccines remained very slow and it is largely eyeing donations to vaccinate the increasingly vulnerable population. Pakistan, with a population of 220 million, last month allowed private firms to import coronavirus vaccines and agreed to exempt them from price caps.
The move to cap prices of the vaccines came as the country witnessed a rise in the number of coronavirus cases. Pakistan reported 3,669 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, taking the infection tally to 630,471 on Monday.
The Ministry of National Health Services said that 20 more people died due to the coronavirus, pushing the death toll to 13,863. Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood tweeted on Sunday night that the education and health ministers would meet on March 24 to decide on the opening or further closure of educational institutions in the country.
The third coronavirus wave is serious; requires careful review, he tweeted. Earlier, educational institutions were closed on March 15 for two weeks in selected cities due to a spike in the number of coronavirus cases.