Slow down vaccination process in Pakistan?

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Chaudhry Munawar Anjum

The entire nation, currently, is going through the most difficult and trying period in terms of Corona pandemic.

On the one hand, businesses are closed, lockdown is imposed, which has led to hunger, unemployment and mental disorders, while on the other hand, it has exposed poor policies of the government.

It seems, all the ministers in this government, including the Prime Minister, have neither the political acumen nor the national vision to take extraordinary decisions in the prevailing extraordinary circumstances.

No section of the society is happy with any policy of this government and apparently it is impossible for the incumbent ministers, MNAs, MPAs etc.

to go out to the public. Heads of government with such “better performance” are still found to be “proud”

Now look at the increase in the rising number of Corona cases and deaths in the country has worried every citizen, but the government has not yet been able to formulate a comprehensive policy so that every citizen can be vaccinated as soon as possible.

According to the latest figures, the government has been able to vaccinate one percent of the population, which can be called the slowest pace.

A month ago, a global organization Bloomberg in a report showed the slow pace of vaccination in Pakistan.

The report says that at the current pace of vaccination, the Pakistani government will be able to vaccinate only 75% of the population in the next 10 years.

Bloomberg’s research report called the rate of vaccination in Pakistan the slowest and said that Pakistan lags far behind other countries in vaccination against Coronavirus.

The report also said that Corona vaccine should be given to people in Punjab province in ample quantity, keeping in view its population.

For Lahore, the period is more than 11 years, in which the entire population can be vaccinated. Bloomberg said that Corona vaccination in Punjab started two months ago on February 3.

According to the data provided, more than 124,000 healthcare workers have been vaccinated across the province till April, while more than 222,000 civilians have been vaccinated.

According to the report, Punjab has a population of 110 million. In the same period, only 347,561 people were vaccinated. In this regard, 5,792 people were being vaccinated on a daily basis.

Bloomberg has said that out of a population of one and a half crore in Lahore, only 77,369 people could have been vaccinated by April, on an average of more than 2,900 people were vaccinated on a daily basis daily in Lahore, giving an average of 11 years for entire population of the Lahore.

The research report said that with the current pace and rate of vaccination, Pakistan, Ukraine, Iran and Bangladesh will take 10 years for vaccination of its 75% of the total population; the Philippines will need up to 5 years, while India 4 and Argentina will be able to vaccinate 75% of their population in 3 years.

Turkey, Brazil, Germany, France, Spain and Italy will need one year and similarly a few other countries including Britain, USA, Israel and Chile will be able to vaccinate 75% of their population in less than a year.

The Sputnik V vaccine was given in limited quantities only in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, while the official vaccination program, which began in February, provided only Chinese-made Cansino, Sinovac and Sinopharm to people aged over 60 years and those over 70 years of age.

In addition, vaccination for people aged 50 to 59 was started from April 21 while vaccination of people between the age of 40 and 50 has also been started from May 3.

Following this report, published a month ago, there has been some acceleration in the vaccination process by the government, which, in terms of Pakistan’s population, has a population of 210 million.

According to SAMP Dr Faisal Sultan, about 1.5 million people have been vaccinated, of which more than 85 percent were civilians and the rest were health workers.

And now it is being said that about 1.5 million people are being vaccinated every day, while according to a recent statement by a health adviser, 70 million people will be vaccinated by the end of this year.

This statement is welcomed. But it is not stated how and in what way 70 million citizens will be vaccinated in a period of seven months.

So far, barely one percent of Pakistan’s population could be vaccinated. If we look at the spread of Corona virus in Pakistan, the third wave in mid-March is proving to be more dangerous than the first two waves.

According to official figures, a total of 7.5 million Corona virus cases have been reported across Pakistan so far. Similarly, the total death toll has risen to more than 16,000.

Federal Minister Asad Omar has repeatedly said that the Pakistani government aims at providing vaccines to 70% of the country’s population over the age of 18, which is a little over 100 million.

Meanwhile, according to a report in the prestigious journal Economist, the process of vaccinating 60 to 70 percent of Pakistan’s adult population will be possible in early 2023.

In these circumstances, the government should continue the process of vaccination 24 hours a day and increase the number of vaccination centres, but what is happening here is that the process of vaccination has been stopped by giving three Eid holidays.

Given the frivolous attitude of this government, there is no choice but to accept the above report as correct.

There is a need for the government to continue the process of vaccination even during Eid holidays and to speed up the process of ordering vaccinations.

If this is not done, then according to the reports of international organizations, we will not be to protect our citizens against the Coronavirus for the next ten years.

We will have to think about the economic and social damage it has caused to the country. Our education system has virtually been closed for the past two years now.

More than, 10 million children have said goodbye to education in both government and private educational institutions.

More than two million teachers have lost their jobs, while all education-related businesses are closed which have rendered millions of people virtually with jobs.

In these circumstances, the Prime Minister and his ministers should not fall asleep and rise to the situation to steer the nation of this despair. “But this seems dream as rabbits are enjoying the surprise.”