Vaccination scams

Inevitable in the absence of an efficient and foolproof administrative setup

It was perhaps inevitable that there would be some queue jumping for the covid-19 vaccine once it arrived, but now that it has apparently happened, it seems that this provided an opportunity for the next inevitability, that some would attempt to make money. At three hospitals in Lahore, it transpires, there are large numbers of doses of the vaccine missing and unaccounted for. One source of this disappearance is queue-jumping, mostly by political figures, who not only take the vaccination without falling into any of the categories of either healthcare workers or the aged, but have their jab administered at home. Even those who would be vaccinated, such as aged parents, want the service at home. Once doses of the vaccine leave the hospital, they do not come back, and probably find their way onto the black market, where queue jumpers without political influence find that paying through their nose will serve. It has not helped that the National Command and Operations Centre database seems to have collapsed, making data entry of those vaccinated impossible. That collapse itself must be viewed with suspicion, for the timing is too convenient for those misusing the facility.

One result has been that one hospital has actually had to turn away those had been told to go there for their vaccinations on a particular date. Pakistan has also been found to do worst among the countries of the region, which means that it is doing badly among countries with equally ramshackle healthcare systems and similar cultures of entitlement.

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That this particular evil has cropped up under the PTI is perhaps more reprehensible for it than for other parties, considering the moral high ground it has tried to occupy. However, part of the problem is the apparent readiness of Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid to do nothing in the hope that the problem will go away, even though they should be on the forefront of the effort to control their fellow party members from giving in to their worst instincts.

The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected]


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