COVID-19 vaccination has been made mandatory in one of Pakistan’s four provinces. To enforce the mandate, the vaccine hesitant will have their SIM cards blocked, suspending their cellular service, and will no longer be permitted to access public markets, according to English language reports.
Vaccination is no longer optional for the 18+ portion of Sindh Province’s 47.89 million citizens. Government officials have been directed to force all staff to accept an injection on penalty of their personal salaries being suspended, while the Provincial government has asked Pakistan’s National Command and Operation Center to suspend the SIM cards and social media accounts of individuals who do not roll up their sleeves by the Aug. 31 deadline.
In a July 31 article by Dawn, Adviser to Sindh’s Chief Minister Murtaza Wahab confirmed the move, lauding its efficacy on vaccine uptake, “In this regard, it was decided that mobile SIM cards of unvaccinated people will be blocked, and you can see vaccination stats after four days of the announcement — there’s an exponential increase in it.”
Wahab said almost 186,000 doses were administered within 24 hours.
According to a July 31 report by Business Recorder, after the deadline, unvaccinated citizens will no longer be able to “enter both public and private sector offices, businesses, and high-risk sectors.”
On July 30, the Sindh government implemented a lockdown scheduled to last until Aug. 8 that would see markets and public transit throughout the province closed. Restaurants can still deliver food, but delivery drivers have been forced to take the injections to maintain employment. Citizens who are outside their homes will have to present vaccination cards to law enforcement, according to a report by Pakistan Today.
The government amended the lockdown a day later “allowing companies and industries with 100 percent vaccination of their workers to remain open,” according to Business Recorder.
One video posted to YouTube shows the Expo Center in Sindh’s capital, Karachi, being overrun after citizens waited in line for hours to take the injections, which have now become mandatory to live in society. Security footage from inside the Center shows a full crowd outside the large glass doors, with one of the doors being trampled and broken by a stampede just seconds after being opened.
In a second July 29 video by ARY News, huge lines outside the Expo Center could be seen in a news report.
An Aug. 1 video shown on Twitter purports to show cars lined up for at least a mile with passengers awaiting injections.
In an Aug. 2 article by The Express Tribune, the government’s use of soft power to hit their vaccination target has had the side effect of creating an illicit market for counterfeit vaccine certification schemes showing up on the Pakistani internet.
Participants in the scheme were located at “major government hospitals,” with prices for a doctored certificate anywhere from 2,000 to 10,000 Rupees. The Tribune said law enforcement had “taken action” against at least four health department employees in Lahore and Shahdara.
“Explaining the protocols of fake vaccination, a source privy to the matter said that dubious vaccinators have citizens fill a standard form that one would fill at any authentic vaccination centre,” reads the article.
The source said the scheme was more than a piece of paper and involved government health databases being updated, “Quite like the actual vaccination process, they also note the patient’s vitals and conduct necessary checkups….However, the final phase of vaccine administration is skipped, while the data is fictitiously fed in the record system.”
The Pakistani government’s move relies on the now-trending hysteria surrounding the Delta Variant of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the vaccines that are alleged to save the world from the pandemic.
However, a July 30 report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control tested Massachusetts residents who attended large scale public gatherings in Barnstable County over a two week period in July, finding 469 COVID-19 diagnoses from an undisclosed sample size. Notably, 90 percent of the cases were Delta Variant. Equally notable, 74 percent of the infections occurred in fully vaccinated individuals.
The report also found the vast majority of these cases were not asymptomatic. 79 percent of the breakthrough cases were symptomatic and 80 percent of those hospitalized were fully vaccinated.