Amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has barred the entry of individuals inoculated with Chinese vaccines, into the country. This has created fresh trouble for Pakistan, as most of its citizens had received the Chinese Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines.
On Sunday (June 6), the Foreign Ministry of Pakistan pleaded with Saudi Arabia to reconsider its decision and include Chinese vaccines in its list of approved vaccines.
Pakistani Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told the media that Imran Khan will take up the matter directly with the Saudi Arabian government. He emphasized that PM Imran was in talks with the leaders of the respective countries over the issue of Chinese vaccines. Ahmed further alleged, “(The PM) has also told the cabinet that he is in touch with the (Middle Eastern) countries concerned in this regard. Sinopharm is a great vaccine and I salute the Chinese’ cooperation in this regard.”
Earlier, Asad Umar, the Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives had said that those Pakistanis who need to travel to Saudi Arabia for Haj, work, or education within a month will be administered Pfizer vaccines on priority. He had also claimed that the non-acceptance of Chinese vaccination certificates will lead to a global issue.
Umar said, “If every country makes it mandatory for visitors to be inoculated by their choice of vaccine [brands], the entire world would suffer.” While batting for Chinese vaccines, he also said that the Chinese vaccines were the most exported ones.
Saudi Arabia refuses to recognise Chineses vaccination certificates
The Gulf nation updated its travel restrictions last month to include Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson in its list of approved vaccines. Saudi Arabia had however left out foreign visitors inoculated with Chinese vaccines.
Despite recognition of two Chinese vaccines by the World Health Organisation, the Gulf nation continues to not recognise these Chinese vaccines. Besides Pakistan, Malaysia has also raised similar concerns. While speaking about the matter, Science Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said, “If they have registered or have been jabbed with Sinovac, then we will discuss this matter with the Saudi Arabia government to accord leeway to them.” China has so far distributed 115 million vaccine doses to about 60 countries, such as Brazil, Pakistan, Turkey, Malaysia, and so on.