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Access to Covid19 Vaccine

What’s at Stake

The Covid19 pandemic has claimed countless lives around the world including in Pakistan. One way to battle the pandemic is through a national vaccination program. The Government’s vaccination drive is commendable as it will go some way in curtailing the spread of the virus. However, the vaccination can only be administered to those who possess valid CNICs. This requirement cuts out a large number of people from the ambit of the vaccination drive. There are various ways in which citizens may remain deprived of the Covid19 vaccine due to non-provision of CNICs or other identification documents: when marriages or divorces go unregistered the concerned parties remain outside of NADRA’s fold. In such cases NADRA refuses to issue CNICs and other government issued documents if the individuals concerned cannot produce their birth records, or the records of their parents’ marriages or divorces. In certain instances, NADRA refuses to issue requisite documents to Pakistani citizens of Bangladeshi, Afghani or other origin who are otherwise lawful Pakistani citizens under the law. Similarly, alien residents have to go without government issued documents. The requirement for possessing a CNIC may leave 3 million people unvaccinated owing to their inability or disqualification from obtaining a CNIC. The requirement of possessing a CNIC puts the fight against the pandemic on the back-foot and a percentage of the population will remain unvaccinated due to this requirement.

Current Status

PILAP has written a letter to the Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination advocating for a waiver of the requirement for possession of a CNIC in special cases for those individuals who have been unable to obtain this and other documentation. An alternate system of tracking may be devised to record the administration of vaccines to those special cases.

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