The coronavirus cases started increasing massively in Pakistan after the first week of March 2021, and the country is currently experiencing the third wave of COVID-19, which is much more lethal as compared to the previous two waves (Summer 2020 and Winter 2020/2021). For almost two months now, the cases have experienced constant growth. Hundreds of people around us including family, friends and neighbours are suffering from the virus. 

The vaccination process has started in Pakistan, which consists of two doses, injected with the gap of three weeks. Free government vaccinations for everyone above the age of 40 were made available from 27th April 2021, through the process of registration. Despite this facility, many people are reluctant to get vaccinated as they tend to stand by their firm belief that it is a conspiracy by the West or that the virus in its entirety, is a scam.“First the government made money in the name of polio,” said Syed Nawab, a Manga resident, “and now they are selling coronavirus to earn dollars from western countries.” Many people also tend to strictly believe that technology personnel like Bill Gates are trying to put tracker chips into their bodies through the vaccine and this creative ignorance is beyond words. However, Pakistan is not getting vaccines from the USA and instead is receiving them from China. These inaccurate theories and opinions exist all over the world and are not only restricted to Pakistan. 

It is essential to understand that if vaccines are being provided and if it is evident that many people are developing immunity against the virus after vaccination then other residents must also take this opportunity and get vaccinated. However, people on social media promote anti-vaccination claims, and state that the vaccine is injurious to the body or that it leads to intense side effects. These claims are not supported by evidence and hence should not be agreed with. 

The lack of SOPs being followed in public places

Every day, the infected cases keep rising and it is reported that over 18,000 have lost their lives, bringing immense distress to those around them. It is quite likely that this number is much larger, as it is impossible to ensure that all who are affected have been tested and that their status was recorded officially by the government. For our safety and of those around us, the best option is to follow the SOPs and get vaccinated when can.

“There is a great need for people to get registered and come get vaccinated,” Asad Umar, the Minister for Planning, Development & Special Initiatives, told private television channel Geo News. “I appeal to people – at least those who are above 60 – to immediately get registered so we can be done vaccinating the high-risk group.”

After getting vaccinated, it is noticeable that citizens stop following the SOPs. However, even if one is vaccinated following the SOPs is mandatory, considering that no vaccine will ever guarantee that a person will not get infected by the virus. The sole purpose is to suppress its intensity and ensure that the body has sufficient immunity to fight off the virus as soon as possible. Without SOPs, threatening attacks by the virus will be more likely, leading to immense burden on the immune system, despite vaccination. If anyone experiences symptoms of the virus, they should immediately get tested so that the treatment can begin as soon as possible before the virus aggravates the condition of the infected.

People gather for COVID-19 vaccine doses at a vaccination center in Karachi, Pakistan, March 22, 2021.

The third wave of the coronavirus in Pakistan is the result of extreme recklessness demonstrated by the citizens of the country. They have ignorantly been attending public gatherings which include weddings, parties etc. They refuse to acknowledge the risk this would bring to them and their families. It is crucial to develop an understanding that even if covid is a conspiracy or a false alarm, it is by no means an excuse for anyone to demonstrate recklessness when protecting themselves from it. Even if there is the slightest chance that it is afterall not a scam, following the SOPs is necessary to hinder the spread of this disease. 

Many have been suggesting that considering the condition of the country, there is a chance that Pakistan might run short of medical supplies and equipment (e.g. oxygen cylinders and ventilators), resulting in an even more crucial state of emergency in the country. In order to preserve a blissful future for us, care and sensitivity should be mandatory in our lifestyles. Only through this can we overcome the pandemic. 

A paramedic prepares a dose of Sinopharm vaccine before administering it to a health worker at a vaccination centre in Karachi 

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