The second wave of COVID-19 has hit Pakistan, and it is spreading rapidly. Amidst the second wave of the pandemic across the world, the demand for the influenza vaccine has increased manifold.
Doctors in western countries are administering the influenza vaccine to counter symptoms related to the novel coronavirus. This spike in demand has limited the availability of the vaccine in many developing countries, including Pakistan.
Health experts across the country recommend people living in high-risk environments to get vaccinated against the influenza virus every year in October to marginalize morbidity, and in some cases, mortality. October and November are considered a prime time to get flu shots, but during this winter season, vaccine distributors have not received a single vial to meet the demand.
Currently, two leading manufacturers of the vaccine haven’t issued any supply orders to Pakistan. Western countries have cooped up most of the demand.
Sanofi S.A. is a French multinational pharmaceutical company headquartered in Paris, France, and its products are not being imported currently due to the boycott of French products. Abbott hasn’t provided influenza vaccine to distributors in Pakistan as well because of having huge orders from the developed countries.
The Head of Planning and Development, Dr. Muhammad Najeeb Durrani, said in a statement that the leading vaccine manufacturers prepare a vaccine for the international community as per standard practice, but this year the demand from economies bigger than Pakistan has exceeded overwhelmingly.
According to Durrani, Pakistan’s vaccine distributors may not be able to provide the vaccine for the local population. He remarked,
People in developed countries are more aware, they may like to avoid co-infection, flu along with coronavirus illness.
Dr. Muhammad Najeeb Durrani, who is an epidemiologist and also a Member of the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN), further stated that there is no direct link between the flu shot and protection from COVID-19.