Jumping the queue for vaccines


The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) is doing the right thing by holding an inquiry into a video clip that has gone viral on social media, which shows family members of federal housing minister, Tariq Bashir Cheema of PML-Q, receiving Covid-19 vaccine shots out of turn. A number of the people shown receiving the vaccine on the video are clearly below 65 years of age and therefore do not qualify for the shots at this point in time. That of course means that the housing minister made some phone calls and pulled some strings to make sure that his family had the privilege of being vaccinated ahead of others even if it defied the law.
There’s nothing yet to suggest that any palms were greased, but that is really not the point, at least for now. That fact is that our politicians have got just too used to exercising their influence and really feel no remorse about stepping out of line or even bending or breaking the law so long as their own purposes are served. The best way to check such corrupt practices is to let the law run its course. There is a reason after all that all countries all over the world are lining up front line health workers and the elderly for the first round of vaccinations. And when government officials themselves bypass these rules for their own personal benefit then others are naturally encouraged to take the same course whenever they can.
While the investigation will look into the matter of the vaccination only, there is an urgent need to look much deeper into this and all such issues. The government must not allow anybody to use the privilege of high office for personal gain, especially in times of unprecedented international crisis like the present. Wealthy and powerful families, that routinely dominate our corridors of power, are at a clear advantage over most Pakistanis anyway because they have the most protected, and cleanly sanitised, lives. When they also deprive others of their due turns in the vaccination drive, they do the country much deeper harm than just taking somebody else’s place. Hopefully the investigation will get to the bottom of this sooner rather than later and recommend steps that will check all such habits.