Footage out of Pakistan purports to show thousands of residents lined up to receive a Covid-19 vaccine after the government in two provinces implemented measures to block cell service for the unvaccinated.
The video shows a man driving down a street passing by a mile-long line of vehicles supposedly queued up to receive the vaccine.
“Since last night thousands of people lining up to get vaccinated in Karachi, Pakistan after Govt. decision to block phone SIM for unvaccinated,” the footage, being promoted on Twitter, is captioned.
Two months ago, the governments of the Punjab and Sindh provinces called for plans to block phone service for unvaccinated people, claiming too many were refusing to get vaccinated despite a rise in Covid delta variant cases.
“At first this was only a proposal, but people have been very hesitant in getting vaccinated so the decision was made,” a spokesman for the Punjab Primary Health department stated in June, not noting a specific date the decision would go into effect.
“The government is trying its best to facilitate people in getting the vaccine,” Sindh information minister Syed Nasi Hussain Shah told the New York Times.
Ahead of the cell phone shut-off, Pakistanis complained life without a phone would be hard, but said they also feared the vaccine.
“It will be hard for me if I can’t use my phone, but I am very scared about the vaccine,” one worker in Lahore told France24.com in June.
A truck driver in Karachi told the Times no one in his 25-member family will take the jab because he’s heard vaccinated people may die in the coming months.
“I have heard that people, after getting the coronavirus jab, will die within the two years…It is the reason that in our extended family of at least 25 people, no one is willing to vaccinate themselves.”
“You can’t force someone to get vaccinated,” lamented one vaccinated teacher, adding, “It makes me a little suspicious.”
The head of Pakistani’s Young Doctor’s Association, Salman Haseeb, insultingly told AFP he believed the public was too stupid to decide whether the vaccine is good for them, saying, “Pakistan’s education level is low. People are also spreading rumors and misinformation about the vaccines.”
Additionally, the Sindh government has also stopped paying unvaccinated government workers in efforts to pressure them into getting vaccinated.