Is another Covid variant on the rise?

It appears so.




Amid a global surge in cases of a new variant of Covid-19, it comes as no surprise that that fear and speculation is also increasing in Pakistan.

According to the World Health Organization, the number of new COVID-19 cases increased by 52% during the 28-day period from November 20 to December 17, 2023 as compared to the previous 28-day period, with over 850,000 new cases reported during that time. WHO also declared it JN.1 sub-variant of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 as Variant of Interest (VOI).

Geo News reports today that “Pakistan is likely to receive 500,000 doses of Pfizer’s new COVID-19 vaccine (2023-24 formula) in January 2024 amid a global surge in cases as the new JN.1 variant spreads around the world”.

Officials in the National Institute of Health and provincial health facilities mentioned that they had not yet detected JN.1 sub-variant in Pakistan as COVID-19 positivity was quite low but with the Saudi Pilgrims making their way back to Pakistan the need for vaccine has become pertinent.

It is important to notice that neighboring country India has already reported a number of cases of the new variant with reports of  636 fresh COVID cases in a day this Sunday.

As the world gears itself for a new year, the potential impact of the new variant does steer a sense of pessimism but the influx of Pfizer vaccines offers a glimmer of optimism for Pakistan. Nevertheless, it is imperative for health authorities to remain vigilant and proactive in monitoring and addressing the evolving situation.