Vaccine milestone

A commendable achievement

At a time when the country is facing multiple challenges, including but not restricted to an economy in precarious health, security challenges and political uncertainty, it is a welcome relief that the covid-19 pandemic is well under control. The positivity rate is at 2%, which means the omicron variant is not spreading with the same intensity as it was a month ago. Although this variant has proven to be more infectious than previous ones, there has not been as much of an effect on the health system. This may reflect the fact that it simply does not lead to the development of as severe symptoms in those infected as previous variants, but more likely is that it has been driven off by the spread of vaccination. With over 100 million Pakistanis now fully vaccinated, the country is on track to make the much-desired conversion from pandemic to endemic, putting covid-19 into the category of the common cold. Covid-19 vaccination drives around the world were understandably huge undertakings, especially for Third World countries like Pakistan where procurement of the vaccines and their successful delivery were made more difficult owing to inherent financial and logistical deficiencies. That the NCOC under Planning Minister Asad Umar has been able to overcome those hurdles and achieve such a milestone is commendable. That the SAPM on health happens to be one of the best infectious disease specialists in the country and was brought on-board at a timely point in the pandemic also goes to the credit of the PTI government.

While vaccination is not a guarantee against infection, it does seem to act as a defence against developing the illness, and certainly against being killed by it. It is significant that only the unvaccinated are now passing away. There is no room for complacency at this point and what is important from this point onwards is vigilance, because the virus has a very potent propensity to mutate into something more dangerous than its previous iteration. One hopes that this pace and momentum of the vaccination effort continues undeterred in tandem with ensuring that the public takes necessary, scientifically mandated precautions.

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

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