IT emerged on Saturday that about three million people in Pakistan either do not possess Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs) or identity documents, which may jeopardise country’s fight against Covid-19 as currently only Pakistani nationals or immigrants having CNICs or official refugee status can receive the jabs.
The fact of matter is that apart from 1.5 million unregistered Afghan refugees, there is a sizeable population of unregistered Bengali, Nepali and Rohingya immigrants mainly in Karachi.
In addition, the figure of our own people who do not have CNICs will also be in hundreds of thousands, as many in rural areas do not care much about getting themselves registered with NADRA.
Vaccinating this lot poses a serious challenge to authorities concerned as if these are missed out, the country will never be able to successfully come out of this pandemic.
The virus does not know whether an individual is a refugee or a local. It is a challenge to everyone as nobody is safe until all of us are safe.
Being cognizant of the fact, Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar said a mechanism would be devised to inoculate people having no CNIC.
Covid-19 vaccine is meant for public good and Prime Minister Imran Khan has repeatedly stressed, particularly at international level, for its availability to everyone and everywhere with equity. By pursuing the same at domestic level, government should immediately lift the condition of CNIC for Covid vaccination.
It is also a fact that unnecessary conditions only discourage people to get vaccinated. We believe that such a move will encourage more people to visit centres for vaccination.
We will also suggest that those not possessing CNICs or identity documents must be inoculated with a single dose vaccine, as it might be difficult to find them for the second dose.
Besides, teams should be sent to rural areas as people there will not find it very convenient or prefer to visit centres to get the vaccination shots.