Frontline workers in KP recently refused to get vaccinated against Covid-19 which prompted government officials to look towards second line workers that face exposure to the virus as well. This is not a new phenomenon in Pakistan as vaccines for epidemics have always been looked at suspiciously—leaving a significant portion of society vulnerable to the ailments caused by the virus. One would assume that the authorities would inculcate a framework within public policy pertaining to such refusal but nothing of the sort has been adopted by Pakistan. If the pandemic is something we want to leave behind us, we must work towards eradicating this problem immediately.
This poor response received by registered frontline health workers, who are privy to the actual suffering of those infected with the virus, is uninformed but not unexpected. Pakistan saw a similar reaction to the preventative polio drops that were introduced in order to eradicate the disease from the country. More often than not, our population would refrain from taking their children to clinics of polio centres because they did not fully believe in the science behind the vaccine and questioned the authenticity of the concerns raised by authorities. Once again, we are seeing this pattern unfold in front of our eyes when individuals, ironically medical staff, are refraining from getting vaccinated to protect themselves.
Given the potential risks associated with a lack of conformity in regards to protection against the virus, the government needs to ensure that awareness campaigns make clear the fact that the vaccination is a necessity. Otherwise, we may see Pakistan suffer more fatalities and economic strife. If the need arises, vaccinations could also be included in national regulation for the protection against Covid-19 and strict adherence to the rules should be endorsed by state institutions. We are fortunate enough to get a fair-sized dosage of the much sought-after vaccine, we cannot waste the potential it promises