The Sindh Government’s decision to block the salaries of employees who are not willing to get vaccinated is indeed a drastic step. In Pakistan where public trust in the state institutions is already low, such coercive measures would further reduce the level of public trust. This decision by the Sindh government needs reassessment.
Although the government could justify such coercive measures under the cover of necessary public health measures yet it might encourage people to get vaccinated voluntarily. This would not only build public trust in the government but will also educate and incentivize the citizens.
COVID-19 SOPs are mandatory in many countries of the world yet vaccination is largely voluntary. In the US officials are trying to convince the citizens to get vaccinated but they are avoiding any compulsiveness in this regard. Ohio’s governor has announced a weekly $1m prize draw that can only be availed by the vaccinated citizens.
Maryland pays $100 to state employees if they agree to get vaccinated and in New York, those who get their jab of vaccine would get a seven-day Metro card and even tickets to a baseball game. These incentives are to encourage people to get vaccinated voluntarily.
Initially, Sindh Government did so well for Covid-19 prevention but later participation of PPP in mass PDM rallies misguided the people at large. PPP needs to act as a role model for citizens so that environment of trust can be build.
Moreover, conspiracy theories must be done away with through media and mosque sermons. Coercive measures for vaccine refusals should be the last step.