Covid-19 Vaccines: States And NGOs Must Not Mislead — Narinder Pal Singh

There are many concerns that must be addressed before non-federal government bodies seek approval to purchase Covid-19 vaccines.

Ever since the Covid-19 vaccines hit our shores, scores of calls have been made by non-federal government bodies to secure the vaccines by themselves independently.

Though they have said that they are only trying to procure the approved vaccines by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA), the question remains as to how they will acquire them as there is an acute shortage worldwide.

Some state governments and non-profit, non-governmental organisations (herein collectively called ‘’parties’’) are pressuring the federal government to ‘’approve’’ these purchases, using the argument that it will assist in accelerating the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) spearheaded by the federal agencies.

While the proposal and idea seem ideal, there are still many grey areas that these state governments and NGOs have not clarified to the public.

Let’s look at some of the critical issues:

  1. Where are they going to acquire the vaccines from?

Currently all vaccines are being channelled to the federal government by the manufacturers as per the legally binding agreed terms. Have these legal issues been ironed out by those trying to procure the stocks with the manufacturers?

  1. Which vaccines do these parties wish to bring in, in parallel?

Only three have been approved by the NPRA, and those too were only conditionally approved. These parties must make it clear which of these ‘’conditionally approved’’ vaccines do they intend to purchase, and under what legal framework.

  1. All approvals by NPRA, under whatever conditions, are made to a licence holder to ensure that a responsible party is answerable in the event there are any unwarranted issues or adverse events after use in the market.

Have all these been ironed out by these parties? Are they going to be appointed by the licence holders as their distribution agents, and under what terms? Who shoulders the liability?

  1. Issues of storage and distribution.

Do these parties have the necessary strength, manpower, and above all, expertise to manage the entire supply chain of the vaccines? The supply of vaccines is not as straightforward as one would assume.

There are hundreds of stringent control points and parameters that play an integrative role, as not to compromise the quality of the product. It is not just the matter of having the right storage conditions.

And if the supply chain is outsourced to third parties, they too will need to be qualified and certified by the licence holder(s) of the vaccines and NPRA with an extensive quality control audit.

The supply chain must be mandated to an accredited company with Good Distribution Practice (GDP). Who are they? Have all these SOPs been ironed out by the parties?

  1. What is the total cost and who will foot the bill?

The parties must be transparent as to what is the cost involved for every dose. Who will pay how much? And if there is an element of profit made, how much is it, and who will be the beneficiary?

There are many more concerns that these parties need to be addressed before being too enthusiastic in seeking approval to purchase the Covid-19 vaccines. 

It is not wise to impress upon the public for political mileage, but conveniently fail to unveil the intricacies in managing the entire supply chain of the said vaccines.

  • This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.

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