Covid-19 vaccinations have been underway in Pakistan since May, with registration having begun in April. Up till now, Pakistan has administered at least 3,836,291 doses of COVID vaccines. Assuming every person needs 2 doses, that’s enough to have vaccinated about 0.9% of the country’s population. However, the people of Swat display a vehement unwillingness when it comes to getting vaccinations. The reasons range from skepticism about Western vaccinations, made by anti-Muslim countries, religious faith, and fear of the vaccine and its effects.
What Happened: Following the NCOC directive to vaccinate people against Covid-19, the vaccine is available in Swat. However, people are still reluctant to get vaccinated due to various misconceptions. According to the office of the district health officer, at least 298 people have died of Covid-19 in Swat so far. More than 1,000 people have died of the pandemic in the district. Of more than 2.3 million residents of the district, only about 40,000 people have been vaccinated against the virus.
The Context: Many people of Swat believe that the pandemic itself is a Western, anti-Muslim conspiracy, hence they are reluctant to get vaccinated. They believe that their vehement resistance to the vaccine is a testament to their unwavering faith in God. Bakht Ranra, a 70-year-old resident of Khwazakhela, said that her life was in God’s hands her death’s time was fixed, therefore, she did not need any vaccine to save herself from the illness and death. Others fear the side effects of the vaccine. However, in reality, there have been no overwhelming reports of vaccine side effects.