Asad Umar Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives on Saturday said it was a huge challenge to vaccinate those residents of the country who did not possess computerized national identity cards (CNICs), but the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) was trying to devise a mechanism to have them inoculated as well.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has joined the list of 30 countries that have administered over five million doses.
Mr Umar, who also heads the NCOC, said the issue of those who were registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refu
(UNHCR) had ‘Proof of Registration (PoR)’ cards was discussed at the forum and it was decided that they would be vaccinated.
“However I am not in a position to announce a policy for those who are residing in the country illegally as it will be difficult to recognize such people and administer the vaccine to them instead of taking action against them. Moreover, our priority is to vaccinate those who have CNICs, and then we can move to those who do not have the CNIC.
“Vaccination for 30-40 years has begun! Register yourself by sending CNIC to 1166. On receiving SMS, visit the mentioned Vaccination center on a given date (or afterward) and get vaccinated” the NCOC tweeted.
Identity cards,” he said.
“The NCOC members will collectively look into the issue and try to come up with a way to get them vaccinated,” the minister added.
There are three million legal and illegal Afghan refugees besides other nationals living in Pakistan who do not have CNICs.
Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) General Secretary Dr Qaiser Sajjad said that it was a very important issue and the government should look into it as the virus would remain very much present in the country if illegal residents were not vaccinated.
“Such Residents should be inoculated with a single dose vaccine as it might be difficult to find them for the second dose. Besides, teams should be sent to their areas instead of calling them to the vaccination centers,” Dr Sajjad suggested.
“There are three million scavengers who find food from the garbage, a large number of housemaids and servants lack CNICs and there are refugees from a number of countries. In Karachi, we have localities such as Bengali Parah. The government should find a way out for them and make lists, if it already does not have one, for vaccination,” he said.