Serious initiative needed to provide coronavirus vaccine

The Ministry of Public Health has announced that it will receive a shipment of the coronavirus vaccine from the Government of India on Sunday, February 7. The shipment contains 500,000 doses of a vaccine that has not yet been approved by the World Health Organization. This vaccine will not be used until certified by the WHO.

First of all, India should be thanked for the donation of the vaccine to Afghanistan. This aid is a sign of good relations between the two countries and India’s sense of responsibility in fighting coronavirus. However, it is surprising that India should wish to help Afghanistan with a vaccine that is yet to be certified by the World Health Organization! Has the Indian government not calculated that this aid to Afghanistan might be in vain if the vaccine is not approved by the World Health Organization? What was the reason for the rush in this donation? These are questions for which there seems to be no answer.

Unfortunately, the Afghan government itself is unable to produce the coronavirus vaccine. Due to the weakness of this country’s health sector, no attempt has been made to produce this vaccine. Therefore, Afghanistan’s eyes are on foreign countries and international organizations to help provide the vaccine and implement it in the country. Although promises of vaccine assistance have been made to Afghanistan, it will take months for those promises to materialize. Therefore, while the production and implementation of coronavirus vaccines are underway in many countries around the world, there is no such thing in Afghanistan.

Unfortunately, the government has not yet allocated funds for the purchase of the coronavirus vaccine, a sign of the government’s indifference and lack of planning on this issue on the one hand, and of Afghanistan’s economic weakness on the other hand.

More than 55,000 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Afghanistan since March last year. This is the figure recorded by the Ministry of Health. About two and a half thousand people have died during this period. The actual number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the country may be much higher than these figures.

Given that the coronavirus is still circulating in Afghanistan and continues to kill people, it is important to pay close attention to providing the vaccine. The government should not just look to foreign aid but also to buying vaccines outright. On the other hand, the Indian-produced vaccine should be tested as soon as possible by the World Health Organization to clarify its ambiguous fate. If this vaccine is not suitable for use, we should look for another vaccine produced by reputable global companies. Delays in this can increase the number of victims and send more people to their demise.

The most important thing for effective vaccination is proper planning. Unfortunately, during the outbreak of the coronavirus, the Afghan government panicked and was unable to properly use its financial resources, health facilities, and manpower to combat it. To make matters worse, there was widespread corruption during the fight against coronavirus, which is a complete disgrace.

Resources and facilities were also not used fairly. This problem was more prevalent in the first months of the coronavirus outbreak. Those with influence and power hired health facilities and personnel. The general public received less attention. After receiving the coronavirus vaccine, the government is expected to develop and implement an appropriate vaccination program. It would be a shame if the vaccines were misused like the coronavirus test kits.  

Afghanistan desperately needs the coronavirus vaccine to gain mass immunity, and the government must take serious action to provide it. Procrastination is not the right path and can only lead to more deaths. Also, the necessary preparations must be made for the implementation of this vaccine, with an appropriate program for its implementation to be developed in such a way that no citizen of the country is deprived of it.