As countries across the world join the race to procure the Wuhan coronavirus vaccines to vaccinate their population and end China made pandemic for good, the Pakistan government is least concerned about its citizens and seems to have been caught in a hard place. India, the leading global manufacturer of vaccines, is unlikely to supply vaccines to Pakistan with Imran Khan having to rely on China’s vaccines which have questionable efficacy. Such has been the poor state of Pakistan, that the current efforts by the Imran Khan government to procure vaccines will cover a meagre 20 per cent of its population.
It is amply clear that Imran Khan doesn’t have the best interests of his people in mind, as Pakistan with a population of 220 million people has made arrangements to procure a paltry 1.1 million coronavirus vaccine doses from a Chinese firm. Additionally, the doses are earmarked only for the frontline workers and the vulnerable population raising serious questions over the Imran Khan government’s ability to procure vaccines for its citizens.
The current 1.1 million doses is a minuscule amount especially when you consider the fact that each human being would require two doses to build immunity against the virus. Dawn reports that “Pakistan is waiting for the United Nation’s Covax mechanism to receive around 45 million free vaccine doses that will cover the country’s 20 per cent population.”
While countries across the world move at a breakneck speed to procure vaccine doses, Pakistan, as usual, is reliant on donations from the United Nations to receive 45 million vaccine doses at no cost. Even then, the country will only be able to vaccinate 20 per cent of its population.
Let’s take Bangladesh for example. The country has already struck a deal with the Serum Institute of India to get 30 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine. It is pertinent to note that Bangladesh has a population of 16.3 crores, much lower than that of Pakistan.
In fact, the Pakistan government has left its populace in the hands of the private sector as it has allowed the private companies to procure vaccine doses from around the world, get it registered from the country’s drug regulatory authority and then proceed to sell the doses to the people who can afford.
Facing intense scrutiny over procuring just 1.1 million doses, the Pakistan government propped up a weak defence as it claimed that the government is gradually procuring the vaccine doses as the vaccines were developed in record time and hence, they need to first check the efficacy of the vaccine. Here’s the thing, if Pakistan was indeed concerned about the efficacy of the vaccines, it would have never procured Chinese vaccines which are being soundly rejected by almost every country across the world.
Imran Khan will look for the cheapest option possible rather than the vaccine with the highest efficacy. China is offering its vaccines at a lower rate, never mind the efficacy, Chinese doses won’t be able to vaccinate Pakistan’s entire population. Pakistan has put itself in a difficult situation where it can’t fully vaccinate its citizens and neither can it get the vaccine from India.