Before a fifth wave

Minister for Planning Asad Umar has stressed need for meeting vaccination targets to avoid the situation altogether

October 24, 2021

If anything, the deadly Covid-19 virus has taught us that prevention is always better than cure. While we all can thank our lucky stars that the situation in Pakistan has remained under control, we must give credit where it is due. The incumbent government has been proactive and has taken prudent measures to curtail the threat and ebb the intensity of the Covid-19 waves. The vaccination drive has fared along rather smoothly, with shortcomings having been addressed in a timely manner. One cannot expect everything to be perfect, but the government is doing what needs to be done.

Even though the threat of the fourth wave has been averted, with daily cases having decreased to just 600 per day, preparations for a fifth wave must start immediately. For this, the Minister for Planning Asad Umar has stressed the need for meeting the vaccination targets to avoid the situation altogether. A large segment of the population is in fact vulnerable and has not received either a first or second shot. The minister insists that the situation is particularly poor in Karachi, Hyderabad, Nowshera, Faisalabad, Quetta, Mingora and Mardan, and has urged the district administration to ramp up vaccination efforts. This can only be done if data is being collected efficiently and sincerely. In order to be prepared ahead of time, the monitoring system must be further strengthened so that the number of novel cases and the number of people being vaccinated are accurately recorded. Only then can we analyse and predict the situation. This must continue till we achieve a sense of normalcy.

It is now time to target the masses at an individual level. Representatives must contact those who have only received one jab and persuade them to get their second at the earliest. Those who are facing hesitancy must be educated and satisfied. The outreach of the vaccination drive should be increased so that those living in remote areas are also fully inoculated. The government must continue to push hard.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2021.

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