On Thursday (June 10), the provincial government of Punjab in Pakistan announced that it would block the SIM cards of those individuals reluctant to get vaccinated against the Wuhan Coronavirus. It was decided during a high-level meeting of civil and military leaders, with Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid as the Head.
The decision was confirmed by the Specialised Healthcare Department (Punjab) spokesman Syed Hammad Raza. He informed, “Final decision has been taken to block the mobile SIM cards of people not getting vaccinated.” The measure comes following criticism of the ‘dead slow’ pace of vaccination in the Punjab province of Pakistan. Until June 1, the government had vaccinated only 4.2 million people (6.3%) out of the total target of 67 million.
Reportedly, vaccinated individuals will be allowed to go to malls, restaurants, and cinema halls. At the same time, individuals with terminal illnesses will be vaccinated on priority. Besides, walk-in-vaccination centres and mobile vaccination camps will be set up outside major shrines in the Punjab province. Businesses will be allowed to fully open in districts where over 20% population has been vaccinated.
Mandatory vaccination for public and private sector employees in Pakistan
Earlier on June 9, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) announced that all public and private sector employees need to be vaccinated mandatorily. At the same time, all government employees need to be fully vaccinated by the end of the month. The Sindh government had also warned to stop the salaries of government employees who refuse to get vaccinated. Pakistan hopes to vaccinate 70 million (7 crores) people by the end of December 2021.
Pakistan launches new Covid vaccine with the help of China
On June 1, Pakistan launched a Chinese Covid-19 vaccine- ‘PakVac’ developed with Chinese help. The Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Faisal Sultan announced that the mass production of the vaccine will begin soon. Thanking China, Sultan said, “China was already a friend and came forward when coronavirus hit Pakistan.” He also lauded the National Institute of Health (NIH) for its pathbreaking development.
“Developing the vaccine from raw materials is not an easy task. (We are) proud of the people that developed the vaccine at the NIH,” Dr Sultan added. PakVac is the localised version of China’s Cansino vaccine. The vaccine will be filled and packaged in Pakistan and sold under the brand name PakVac.