Finally, the first shipment of six million doses, out of the larger order of 17 million, is set to arrive in Pakistan as early as March. With actual delivery starting from February, the Pakistani population can breathe a sigh of relief as the process of national immunisation looks to be on. However, authorities must be wary of the fact that the extraordinary task of procuring 200 million more doses still remains. As such, the diplomatic push needs to be as strong as it has been if we are to see such success again.
According to Asad Umar’s announcement on Saturday, the AstraZeneca vaccine is one of the three antidotes available globally for battling Covid-19. For Pakistan to have obtained six million doses means that a significant portion of the population can start undergoing the vaccination process. Consequently, there is bound to be some relief experienced in the nation as well as the economy. Once the promise of greater supply materialises, we might be able to move closer to normalcy and become one of the few countries in the world to have escaped the grips of the pandemic.
It is imperative that the government does not forget that there is an overwhelming global demand for the vaccine, whether provided by the labs from Oxford, China or Russia. We must remain consistent with our efforts to secure a portion of the supply for millions that are living vulnerably in the country. Otherwise, we risk the likelihood of living within constrictive environments for an indefinite period of time.