April 20, 2021

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Private companies operating COVID-19 vaccination, Pakistani young people respond enthusiastically

Pakistan Vaccination

A Pakistani woman went to a private hospital in Karachi to receive the Russian-developed "Sputnik V" coronavirus vaccine. (Reuters)

Pakistan’s private sector provided COVID-19 vaccination services for the first time on weekends. Thousands of young people rushed to vaccinate. Vaccines in some areas of Karachi have been sold out.

Reuters reported that the Pakistani government is currently providing free vaccinations for frontline medical staff and people over 50 years old. However, due to the slow progress of vaccination, the authorities announced in March that private institutions would be allowed to provide the public with imported COVID-19 vaccination programs.

In the first round of vaccination, the private sector launched the Russian-developed “Sputnik V” coronavirus vaccine at a cost of 12,000 Pakistani rupees

Although the price is not cheap, there are still long queues of people outside many vaccination facilities. The vaccination center in Karachi even had to wait for nearly three hours. Photos uploaded to social media showed that outside the Karachi South City Hospital, there were still many people queuing after dark.

The majority of those who choose to vaccinate at their own expense are young people who have not yet been eligible for free vaccination.

34-year-old Ahmed said after being vaccinated at a high-end private hospital in Karachi: “I am very happy to finally get the vaccine, because now all travels need to be vaccinated against coronavirus.”

A person in charge of the hospital, who asked not to be named, said that the hospital purchased 5000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine, and there were no leftovers within two days. The vaccine was either used or ordered.

Although Pakistan’s private sale of coronavirus vaccines has been launched, the dispute between the government and importers over vaccine prices has not broken the deadlock.

The Pakistani government initially agreed to exempt the price ceiling for imported vaccines, but later cancelled the exemption and stated that it would set a maximum price.

A pharmaceutical company that has imported 50,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine took the Pakistani government to court and won an interim order allowing it to continue selling the vaccine until the price is set.

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