As per new directives issued by the Health Minister of Sindh, Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, the Covid-19 vaccine will be administered to children between the ages of 5 to 11. The five-day campaign will target 2.4 million children across Karachi and Hyderabad with the aim of building herd immunity and fostering long-term resistance to the virus. Covid-19 is an epidemic now and that means that while its complete elimination is highly unlikely, we can develop enough immunity to reduce the severity of the disease. This is a good step to take since it secures and protects a healthier future for Pakistan.
The paediatric vaccination drive is being supported by USAID which has helped approve the first phase of administering 64 million Pfizer doses from the comfort of schools that are serving as the main site for vaccination. The need to take precautionary measures to prevent transmission have been stressed upon by the administration, and awareness campaigns have been encouraged. Carrying this drive out through schools will be effective in dispelling certain suspicious notions about the vaccine and will ingrain a sense of duty upon the parents as well. Children must be protected, especially considering that some have tested positive for a virus like Covid-19 that has robbed thousands of their lives.
The only way to beat Covid-19 is through rapid and frequent vaccinations and boosters until a point where the population develops herd immunity. This will ensure that despite transmission, Covid-19 remains to be relatively harmless. For now, only Sindh has launched a drive for children but soon enough, all provincial governments must also follow suit with the aim of achieving long-term immunity. At the same time, the federal government must work towards making awareness campaigns and vaccination drives a part of regular administrative schedules. Furthermore, it should also produce the vaccine locally so that our costs remain low and that we do not have to rely upon external help.