The Conservative Friends of Pakistan (CFoP) organised an exclusive virtual event led by CFoP NHS Chapter with the British Minister for Covid-19 vaccine deployment in which various initiatives to support the UK government vaccination programme were discussed.
Minister for Covid-19 Vaccine Deployment Nadhim Zahawai at the Department of Health and Social Care acknowledged the support from the Conservative Friends of Pakistan and the British-Pakistani diaspora and assured the student volunteers of his full support.
He shared the journey of the vaccination programme commenced on Prime Minister Boris Johnson's initiative. Responding to a question related to vaccine donations to Pakistan, he announced that the UK has committed £548 million to the global Covax initiative, making the UK the largest single donor.
"Pakistan will take delivery of 17 million doses of the UK-developed Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in a month or two. Challenges came up from different communities having doubts about vaccination. The UK government has overcome this challenge by reaching out to community leaders to raise awareness and remove doubts through constant consultation."
The minister particularly thanked the volunteer students who have been marshalling people, especially those over the 80s, to look after their well-being.
Chairman of the Conservative Friends of Pakistan Lord Zameer Choudrey said that the government is going all-out to vaccinate the adult population in the next three months.
"We are reaching out to different segments of the British-Pakistani diaspora through various means. We are supporting the university students by educating them to deal with any anti-vaxxers and convince their elders based on scientific facts and information. We plan to continue such campaigns throughout the month of March."
The Conservative Friends of Pakistan are leading a unique vaccination awareness campaign all over the United Kingdom in collaboration with TPF, the international union of British-Pakistani students from more than 45 British universities who are bringing round their parents and elders to get vaccinated through the ongoing NHS campaign.
The CFoP has also contacted other community and diaspora forums, including the Islamic scholars, to dispel any doubts about the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
High Commissioner of Pakistan to the UK Moazzam Ahmad Khan appreciated the vaccination awareness drive led by the CFoP and students of British universities and commented :
“I strongly urge the Pakistani diaspora in the UK to cooperate with the health authorities and get themselves and their dependents vaccinated, without paying attention to the false information being spread on social media. The vaccine is efficacious and represents a time tested method of preventing a communicable disease caused by viruses," he added.
TPF Chief Executive and a student of Dentistry at King's College London Awais Malik appreciated the support of the CFoP and said that so many doctors and paramedics have lost their lives, a number of them of Pakistani origin.
He said that there have been numerous conspiracy theories in social media, so we thought the best way could be mobilising thousands of British-Pakistani students in the universities to educate their elders to address any doubts and help them get evidence-based answers.
Vice-Chair CFoP Syed Qamar Raza said that the prime minister has shown amazing crisis leadership and the vaccine minister has achieved significant results against all odds. "We hope the elders to respond warmly to their well-educated sons and daughters in 'Let's Get Our Elders Vaccinated' campaign."
CFoP Director Arif Anis paid rich tributes to the NHS doctors, paramedics and other staff at the vaccination programme for their heroic efforts.
More than 45 Pakistani societies are participating in the awareness campaign from the universities in England, Wales and Scotland through virtual events, interactive programmes, information sessions, online challenges and poster campaigns.