Poliovirus attacks 5 more children
Islamabad : As the National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) announced the detection of five new polio cases in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), taking the country’s national count to 37, the PM’s Focal Person for Polio Eradication disseminated a video statement urging parents “to stop playing with the future of their children” by falling prey to false propaganda about vaccine efficacy.
According to the Polio Virology Laboratory, the latest cases have been confirmed from KP’s Bannu, Torghar and North Waziristan districts. The victims include two boys from Bannu aged 8 and 10 months, an 11 month-old girl from North Waziristan, and a 48 month-old girl and a 24-month-old boy from Torghar. All five children have had had zero dose of polio vaccine under routine immunization
Even though Pakistan has a string surveillance system that immediately detects polio cases as well as the presence of poliovirus in sewerage, the alarming increase in the number of children who have escape routine immunization is clearly a failure of both the Expanded Programme on Immunization as well as the Polio Eradication Programme because current trends show the virus moving and attacking unprotected children at its will.
“Parents must avoid propaganda and vaccinate their children and,” Babar said adding, “It is time for implementation of a massive perception change in terms of how people view vaccination.” The statement reiterates that children who are protected through multiple vaccination against polio are able to fight back the virus. The more doses of polio vaccine a child receives, the higher their chances of escaping lifelong paralysis. “The Peshawar polio drama created misconception due to which people residing in far-flung areas of KP are still reluctant to vaccinate their children,” Babar recalled, stressing that there is no cure for polio once the damage is done.