The attitude of the young Lahoris, watching from the sidelines for a while, has taken centre stage now
On May 26, Asad Umar, the federal minister for planning and development, announced via a tweet that citizens aged 19 and above could now register for the Covid vaccine. The following day, the process began.
If our 60+ citizens had sighed with relief as the chances of the get-rid-of-the-old propaganda almost got knocked out of the park (the sceptics now scoff at the ‘new’ vaccines presently available), the attitude of the younger generation watching from the sidelines for a while has now taken centre stage.
The process for the youth is the same as it is for 30+, 50+ and 60+ citizens. Register online or via a text message sent to 1166, wait for your confirmation, and then visit the centre specified or walk into any centre of their choice to get vaccinated.
The process at the centres, albeit delayed, is also the same. The registered citizens are allowed inside in groups, their temperatures and blood pressure levels are checked before they are administered the first dose of the vaccine and then sent off.
The types of vaccine create a bit of confusion. No one is sure about the best option. Interestingly, you can’t pick and choose — there is one designated vaccine for the 19+, another for the 30+, and yet another for the 40+. Still, the possibility of getting immunity from the deadly virus has the citizens turning up in large numbers at vaccination sites every day.
The youth are particularly excited at the prospect of becoming ‘super immune.’ Some have cautiously got themselves registered after analysing the various types of vaccines available and deciding which one could provide them with best immunity cover. The rest have waited until the authorities gave them the push to awaken their dormant responsible selves as good citizens of Pakistan.
Sadia Sikander, 29, a teacher at a public school in Lahore, got her first shot on June 13, after school authorities urged all of their teachers to do so. She says that it took quite a few days before the message arrived in her phone inbox, after which she went to a centre at Harbanspura to get her first shot. The process took her about three hours as the centre was quite crowded.
When asked if she knew what vaccine she was given, she replies in the negative. She also appears disinterested in knowing that there is a variety of vaccines available.
Talking about the side effects she experienced after she got the shot, she says: “I felt fatigued and weak. I almost shivered with cold the whole night, but felt much better the next day.”
The youth are particularly excited at the prospect of becoming ‘super immune.’ Some have cautiously got themselves registered after analysing the various types of vaccines available and deciding which one could provide them with best immunity cover.
Sikander says that her expectations to be safer once she gets her second shot are high: “When I get fully vaccinated I should be safe enough to be at peace, but yes, I’ll still try to be careful.”
Aisha Hamid, 28, is a poet and a writer. She says that she got herself registered as soon as the registrations opened. Receiving her confirmation a week later, she visited the Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute and Research Centre (PKLI), in Phase 6, DHA, as instructed, accompanied by her elder sister. They reached the site at 7.30 in the morning, waited for around 45 minutes for the doors to open after which they entered the place with a handful of other people who had been waiting in the queue. Due to a shortage of staff, the queue at the only operational counter inside kept getting longer and it took them two hours to get their vitals checked. Then they queued up to get the shot.
“It was pretty organised,” she insists. “The only problem we encountered was at the vitals counter. The jab itself took only two minutes. We were then given cards, after which we left.”
Hamid knows which vaccine she was given: “Sinovac. I had done a lot of research on the types of vaccines, and would’ve preferred Pfizer as it is more widely accepted than the Chinese vaccines, and I do want to travel. The WHO recognised Sinovac recently, but Europe, USA, the UK and Saudi Arabia still don’t accept people who’ve had Chinese vaccines, travelling into their borders.”
Hamid also voices her concerns about staying just as vigilant as before, “Even though we would be vaccinated, we could still be carriers of coronavirus and infect those with low immunity or who haven’t been vaccinated yet.”
But she is happy that “at the end of the day, [the vaccine] might just prevent me from dying of Covid.”
From the views shared by the youth getting vaccinated, it is safe to assume that the experiences of people vary according to the vaccination sites they visited. While most sites are crowded, now that citizens of almost all ages can get themselves vaccinated, a few centres are still working efficiently enough to make sure they are never overcrowded.
There are new developments on a daily basis. Lahore has recently come up with a drive-through vaccination centre which is attracting the upper middle-class youth.
The writer has a bachelors’ degree in English literature and an MS in public relations and advertising. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org