Bin Laden Blues: Robots and Conspiracy Theories Hamper Vaccine Drive in Pakistan

·2-min read

Coronavirus vaccination drive has met with many hurdles across the globe. From the fear of its adverse reactions to its effectiveness against new mutations and the logistic barriers of transporting it, thir have been many apprehensions with regard to the vaccine. In Pakistan, however, this apprehension comes with an additional layer of mistrust and the memories of terror accused Osama bin Laden's hunting down using polio drive to collect information.

Pakistan faces a double whammy of vaccine distrust and theories of it being an anti-Muslim conspiracy theories, fueled by the legacy of the hunt for Osama bin Laden, the Bloomberg Quint said in a report.

The report quoted several Pakistani citizens who refuse to take the vaccine, showing similar reluctance that they have shown in vaccination of their children against polio. They term the vaccination drive a plot against Muslims.

Notably, Pakistan kickstarted its coronavirus inoculation drive earlier this month. On Sunday,Chinese military delivered a batch of Covid-19 vaccines to the Pakistan Army. This came days after Islamabad received 500,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine from its all-weather ally Beijing.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) said in a statement that the Pakistan Army has become the first foreign military to receive the COVID-19 vaccine aid from the Chinese military. The statement, however, did not mention the number of vaccines supplied to the Pakistan Army.

The vaccines delivered to the Pakistan Army are reportedly in addition to the five lakh doses provided by China to Pakistan. Pakistan on Monday received the first batch of 500,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine from China, as the country was gearing up to kick start its immunisation drive.

The move comes as the number of COVID-19 cases in Pakistan reached 554,474. With 53 new deaths, the number of fatalities has gone up to 11,967, according to the Ministry of National Health Services.

The vaccine reluctance is a grim reminder of Pakistan's failure to eradicate as similar apprehensions clouded the vaccination drive. Experts are terming the challenges similar to that of polio drive.

It was a fake vaccination drive that was used a cover to hunt down terror mastermind Osama bin Laden in Pakistan's Abbottabad where he was finally caught and killed in 2011 by American special forces.

This has made people suspicious about strangers, particularly health workers.