COVID Watch | 20th January 2021

HRCP calls on federal government to provide COVID-19 vaccines to low-income citizens at subsidized rate, terms inoculation of all citizens the government's responsibility; South African coronavirus variant 510Y.V2 found to be 50 percent more contagious than previous virus types; Sindh to raise Rs. 1.5 billion to procure AstraZeneca and Sinopharm vaccines


HRCP calls for subsidized vaccines

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) called on the federal government to provide COVID-19 vaccines at a subsidized rate to working class and low-income citizens, who constitute the majority of Pakistan’s populace and were severely impacted by the economic crunch due to pandemic measures. The rights body also urged for transparency in the utilization of aid and funds allocated for pandemic-related activities.

Africa variant 50 percent more contagious

The South African coronavirus variant 510Y.V2 is 50 percent more transmissible, however there is not enough evidence to suggest that it is more severe. Experts further expressed stated that they were unsure if current vaccines will be effective against the South African variant. Meanwhile, authorities have imposed new restrictions since December 2019 to contain further spread of the mutated virus.

Sindh to raise funds for vaccine

The Sindh Health Department on Tuesday, January 19, announced it has contacted Oxford-AstraZeneca and the Chinese state-owned Sinopharm to purchase vaccines, following an announcement by National Command and Operations Center head and Federal Minister for Planning, Development, Reforms and Special Initiatives Asad Umar that provinces and the private sector are free to purchase their own supply of vaccines approved by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan. Sindh has reserved Rs. 1.5 billion for vaccine procurement for the year 2021, and will vaccinate an initial 125,000 frontline healthcare workers.