Actress Iffat Omar has been severely criticised on Twitter after pictures and videos in which she can be seen getting vaccinated for coronavirus went viral on social media.
Social media accused the actress of jumping the queue to get vaccinated when more deserving citizens still have to wait.
For now, only persons aged 60 years and above can get the free vaccine under the government drive, while those aged 50 can so far only register for a shot. There is no commercially available vaccine against the coronavirus in Pakistan yet.
The actress can be seen in this video, getting vaccinated alongside Federal Minister for Housing and Works Tariq Bashir Cheema and what appears to be a few of his relatives, at the minister’s residence.
Cheema denied accusations that he had been vaccinated against the virus from the government’s stock, according to a report run by Geo News.
He claimed that a team from the University of Health Sciences (UHS) had arrived at his residence to administer a ‘booster shot’ of a ‘trial vaccine’.
The minister said the same team had earlier administered the first dose of the trial vaccine to his family at their residence.
Iffat Omar tweeted the same Geo TV report, telling people to “take it easy”.
In a tweet — which was subsequently deleted by the actress — Omar said she had received a booster shot of the Chinese vaccine CanSino.
However, Pakistani Twitterati called her out on the claim, pointing out that CanSino was a single-dose vaccine and does not require a booster shot.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Communication, Dr Shahbaz Gill also lashed out at the actress — who is a prominent critic of the PTI government — condemning her actions in strong words.
Twitter user Asma Ali Zain questioned how a “handpicked privileged group” can get a dose of the trial vaccine and that too, at home.
In response, Naseer Ahmed criticised the actress, saying the elite thought they can get away with “any lame excuses and fabricated lies”.
“Our elite class genuinely believes that people are naive and they can get away with any lame excuses and fabricated lies. This is the greatest dilemma and predicament of our society,” he said.
Haider said it seemed as if Omar herself was among the same people she criticises frequently.
“Looks like @OmarIffat is also a beneficiary of the same power structure she loves to rail against. I wonder how all those under 60 in this video feel about jumping the queue,& snatching turns from those who need em the most?” he tweeted.
“How did this trial even happen in the comfort of your home?” asked another person.
“Very disappointed in you. That’s now how a trial works. How did this trial even happen in the comfort of your home. If it’s a trial, you’re to regularly visit the hospital managing the trial. Also what trial is this where you weren’t given a placebo. Or were u?” tweeted Fatah.
Journalist Omar Quraishi pointed out how vaccination trials are not held at people’s homes.
A month earlier, a similar incident took place when the daughter and son-in-law of former Sindh governor Muhammad Zubair were seemingly vaccinated in a flagrant violation of rules, triggering a political blame game between the Centre and the provincial government.
According to details, the couple were administered the vaccine on Feb 6, at the Adult Vaccination Center of the Ojha campus of Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) by a deputy district officer of the District East.
It wasn’t clear under what authority or compulsion the doctor had decided to administer the vaccine to individuals who do not qualify as either the elderly or as frontline healthcare workers.
While responding to the controversy, senior PML-N leader Muhammad Zubair had said he had not requested anyone to administer the vaccine to his family and that they (his daughter and son-in-law) got themselves vaccinated through their friends’ connection.
“I have nothing to do with this nor did I ask anyone for the favour,” Zubair had said.