Clear Covid-19 vaccination policy and rational distribution urged


Devcom-Pakistan Executive Director Munir Ahmed urged the donors to directly monitor and control the donated free vaccine doses to avoid misuse and its selling in the private hospitals.   


ISLAMABAD, JAN 24 – The stakeholders speaking at a webinar have suggested the Covid-19 vaccine donors to strictly monitor the distribution and administration of free doses being donated to the Pakistan government. They feared that free vaccine doses might be grabbed by the sides of those in power and sold on high prices as it was done in the case of Covid-19 free testing-kits.

The trust deficit between the people and the Pakistan government has widened. So, it is necessary to have external monitoring and control mechanisms for the Covid-19 vaccination to be in place to benefit the genuinely needy ones and the frontline workers and aged people.

They also urged the government to first develop an inclusive and integrated Covid-19 vaccination policy, followed by a strategic action plan. We are far behind in developing any inclusive and integrated framework for Covid-19 vaccination. Just firefighting would not serve the purpose to take care of the peoples’ healthcare and preventive needs. The federal government and the provinces have to be on the same page in this regard.

The participants urged the Chinese government to administer the free-doses of vaccination under their own supervision and by their own teams to ensure the rational use of the donated vaccine.

Very well-attended by the stakeholders and experts the webinar was organized by the Development Communications Network (Devcom-Pakistan) and DTN. The key experts included chief of the Prime Ministers Shelter Programme Naseem ur Rehman, Dr Masood Ghani, Dr Muhammad Ali, Dr Amena Hasan, Dr. Arshad Mahmood, HRDN CEO Robeela Bangash, Zatasha Niazi, Dr Khushboo Ejaz, local leader from Gilgit-Baltistan Iqbal Hussain, Azhar Qureshi, president Islamabad Crescent Lions Club Bashir Ahmed. Devcom-Pakistan Executive Director Munir Ahmed hosted and moderated the webinar.

Speaking on the occasion the Chief of the Pnanaghah (Shelters) Programme Naseem ur Rehman said the government would take care of the marginalized communities during the Covid-19 vaccination phase after the free-doses administered to the frontline workers including the medical professionals and aged persons. He hoped the leadership of Dr. Faisal Sultan and his team would rationalize and expedite the process. He said the institutional gaps have widened and trust building is essential for such a type of national crisis impacting human security.

Dr Masood Ghani, a well-known health practitioner and Vice District Governor Association of Lions Clubs International, said the Centre and provinces are not on the same page in handling the Covid-19 pandemic and its vaccination. We don’t see any clear and steadfast government policy and engagement of its institutions accordingly. That is why the public is also not taking the pandemic seriously. Despite all lousy handling, we are grateful to Allah for saving us from any major disaster. He asked the government to have an inclusive vaccination policy before going to buy anything.

Dr. Muhammad Ali said many actions of the government were commendable though they were not taken well in time. Same is the case with the vaccination phase. We are not clear about it. Even the professionals are not aware of the clinical trials of any vaccines in Pakistan. Government should have engaged any think tank to develop a Covid-19 vaccination policy and strategic action plan after finalizing the vaccination trials. We have no data analysis of the vaccination trials that why we are preferring the Chinese one.

Devcom-Pakistan Executive Director Munir Ahmed said donors shall send their own teams with free vaccines doses to ensure transparency in vaccination and rational distribution. The public have a trust deficit on the government aides keeping in view the past practices of daylight robbery of Covid-19 testing-kits. Donors should have their direct monitoring of control of the free vaccine doses.

Dr Arshad Waheed Chaudhary highlighted the importance of civil society in the vaccination phase to ensure transparency and fair distribution that is a very important aspect for the credibility of the process.

Namood Muslim, a journalist, asked to engage the corporate sector and the pharmaceutical industry under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and philanthropists.

Azhar Qureshi said only a few cases were reported from the villages that shows immunity level in the rural areas, and the same is the case of children. He suggested having metropolitans on top priority for vaccination and the inward passengers on the airports.

Dr.Amena Hsan said the government is preferring Chinese Vaccine, perhaps it would be available on credit besides half a million free doses.

The Gilgit-Batistan political figure Iqbal Hussain said that they don’t have sufficient doctors, paramedics and nurses to handle the pandemic and vaccination. Governmennts from the public health funds.