High Fatality Rate (on vaccination repercussions)- The Nation

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More than 46 million people in the country have received at least one dose of the vaccine. The government-run vaccination drive, which kickstarted in February, initially saw a slow response but picked speed later and was commended for availability and ease of service. However, alarmingly, after an initial drop in the spread and fatality of the virus, the infection and death rate because of COVID has shot up again. Pakistan this week records the highest number of casualties since May 3. According to data from the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC),141 people lost their battle against the deadly virus and 4,199 more got infected during the last 24 hours. This is the highest number of fatalities per day since May when 161 lives were lost to the virus in one day.

The situation is supremely dangerous, even with the vaccine drive at full tilt. A spike in infection and particularly critical cases have a large impact on healthcare facilities and infrastructure, which in turn worsens the pandemic. With the number of critical COVID patients rising, the government is considering alternatives to Actemra, a drug used to treat critically ill COVID patients.

Actemra, a life-saving drug, an interleukin-6 inhibitor that goes by the generic name of tocilizumab, is also facing a global shortage, reaching unaffordable price levels. The price of each dose of the drug (injection) was determined to be Rs60,000, to be given twice to patients under treatment in a life-threatening condition; however, it is said to be sold at exorbitant prices in the black market.

All these factors, along with the increased risk to healthcare workers, can culminate into a disaster situation. The government has to expedite efforts for every aspect of the pandemic to deal with the dangerous delta variant. This includes expanding the vaccine drive even more, as well as putting in place more precautions and measures. This includes sensible halts on tourism, as well as ensuring workplaces that can survive work-from-home are operating at minimum capacity.