After initial delays, the anti-Covid vaccination drive in Pakistan seems to be moving pretty smoothly, to the extent that whosoever — above the age of 30 — wants to receive the jabs is having no problems. Vaccination centres have been set up across the country, and daily vaccinations in the country are nearing the two hundred thousand mark. The total number of doses administered has exceeded five million. Dr Faisal Sultan, the de facto health minister, says the daily vaccinations have to be raised to five hundred thousand in order to reach the desired results as early as possible and move back to normal business across the country.
Meanwhile, apart from the 30-plus population, the government has allowed walk-in vaccination for all those who are employed or studying abroad, and need to leave the country on a particular schedule. The government has also decided to vaccinate the teachers, especially those who will be conducting examinations, on a priority basis. There are also reports that the authorities are also prepared to vaccinate those intending to perform Hajj with AstraZeneca, one of the four coronavirus vaccines authorised by Saudi Arabia. A vaccination centre has also been set up at the Lahore Press Club to vaccinate journalists who lie among the at-risk population.
The government does deserve to be appreciated for its efforts to procure the vaccine from different sources. The required amount of vaccine is available in the country which is evident from the fact that there is no panic at the vaccination centres across the country, except for a case or two, like in Gujranwala where the Pakistanis employed abroad have complained of the risk of their visas getting expired due to delays. Local authorities must pay attention to such complaints. Overall though, the vaccination process has so far been so good.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2021.