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Karachi's latest polio victim was vaccinated three times

Updated Jun 27, 2014 05:53pm


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- File photo
- File photo

KARACHI: One-year-old Murad is the latest addition to Pakistan's polio count that now stands at 88 reported cases this year, according to official sources.

Murad, son of Nisar Ahmed Khan, was taken to the hospital earlier this month when he was suffering from fever which lasted several days.

The doctor at this small clinic in the Khans' residential area near Gulshan-i-Buner treated the child, but when the fever persisted, the distraught parents took Murad to National Institute of Child Health (NICH), says Town Health Officer for Landhi Dr Siddique.

Once at NICH, the child was treated, and as part of protocol for all children under five, he was tested for the polio virus. When the tests returned positive the Khan family was in disbelief.

Like the other six cases from Sindh -- all from Karachi -- Murad also belongs to a Pakhtun household. His family, which hails from Swat, did not however refuse vaccination, they say. In fact, Murad was administered the polio vaccine thee times since birth: once in March, then again in May and the last time in June. Earlier reports suggested that the child's family had refused vaccination, but the family refutes this allegation.

Despite the triple vaccination, Siddique confirms “the onset of the polio virus in the child started on June 6.”

While H-area, near Gulshan-i-Buner, where Murad lives with his large family, deals with on-going security situation Siddique says, “health workers go in to vaccinate as often as possible.”

There are five other children, besides Murad, under five years of age in the same joint family.

“All of them had been previously administered at least one dose, some were given more,” Siddique confirms. Thus far none of the other children have tested positive for polio.

Pakhtun families, especially those who have migrated from northern areas in the last couple of years are notorious for refusing vaccines due to a number of reasons ranging from religion to traditions to family’s preferences.

“Usually when the women are at home they allow the teams to administer the dose to the children. The problem occurs when the men are also present and they usually refuse to vaccinate the children,” Siddique explains.

But lack of vaccination is not the reason for Murad’s fate. In fact there are at least five other polio cases across Pakistan and two in Sindh (including Murad) that were administered at least one dose but have tested positive for the crippling disease.

Major reasons why polio could occur despite vaccination

  • Efficacy of the vaccine is lost due to ineffective cold chain management

  • Due to limited and/or restricted access in certain areas and failure to regularly conduct immunisation campaigns the immunity against the virus in is very low. This mean the virus is circulating in the area and while children are vaccinated their low immunity prevents them from being fully protected.

  • Malnutrition. If a child is malnourished than the vaccine may not be effective.


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Comments (38) Closed

Imran Jun 27, 2014 12:42pm

Preventable suffering. It must be heartbreaking for the child and its parents to realize this. One hopes that this never happens again.

Manhas Jun 27, 2014 01:13pm

Uneducated parents spoiled the life of their child. Sad

hajil rashmi Jun 27, 2014 01:18pm

feel sorry for the kid to have such parents..

Realist Jun 27, 2014 01:24pm

That child and all siblings should be taken into protective custody. Its pretty obvious that if you decide not to vaccinate your child then you are simply unfit to be a parent.

Nav Jun 27, 2014 01:33pm

Jihalat at its's about time that this should be done forcefully. It is disheartening for any of the children having to live with it.

Atif Jun 27, 2014 02:00pm

There must be law to fine and / or jail parents who refuse vaccination And if a child is detected with polio, his father should be punished

lol Jun 27, 2014 02:25pm

This is just "reported" case. Now imagine how many cases are going unreported because of 99% of poor and illiterate pakistanis suffering from polio to diarrhea.

n b Jun 27, 2014 02:51pm

@Manhas . . . Problem is not education. 50 years ago people were even less educated but took small pox vaccination including children, helping eradication of small pox.

AJamal Jun 27, 2014 03:23pm

Father of the child should be put behind the bars and msde an example for the others. No civilized society can allow this attitude of refusal which potentially harms others.

Zeeshan Khan Jun 27, 2014 03:52pm

Wow now these parents have nothing but regrets and regrets....and regrets

google Jun 27, 2014 04:10pm

I can't believe this .... When the child grows up and gets educated (if) and learns what happened in the childhood, I am sure the child will hate the parents like anything ...

junaid Jun 27, 2014 04:12pm

Taliban is responsible for this too.

Nipun Jun 27, 2014 05:26pm

This is so sad and cruel. The innocent child is the victim. He will suffer all his life because of the blindness and stupidity of his ignorant parents and the prehistoric fanatics. Sometimes stupidity is so cruel. What the mullahs will do now? There is a saying in Sanskrit,-- A wise enemy is better than foolish friends.

Rizwan Jun 27, 2014 05:52pm

If our Mullahs take a stance that in every mosque, every Friday prayer sermon will also include the section of parents responsibility of raising their children( which includes vaccination against preventable diseases like Polio), this situation will be under control.

M1968 Jun 27, 2014 06:10pm

It's a combination of factors for this young kid. 1. Parents education 2. Talibanization influence 3. Religious influence of some sort

And if they honestly say the kid really was vaccinated 2 times, it is still parents fault. They did not provide nutritious food to this kid.

Maznah Jun 27, 2014 07:18pm

Science Education of international standard, should be made compulsory in every madrassah, scoool, kindergarten etc till high school, so people understand the need for maintaining the cold-chain to keep such vaccines effective. +++

Rizwan Jun 27, 2014 07:21pm

What's up with the comments here? It clearly says the kid was vaccinated three times. It's not the parents' fault.

Pak Soul Jun 27, 2014 07:28pm

@Atif Even in Western countries, many vaccines fail each year. While I agree with doing best to deliver the vaccines, but jailing someone for failure of vaccine to deliver what's it is intended to do seems unjustified.

anony Jun 27, 2014 07:31pm

Shame on all those who are STILL blaming the parents of this unfortunate kid, although they mentioned that the kid has been vaccinated 3 times. Have a heart and at least feel sorry for the little kid.

anony Jun 27, 2014 07:39pm

Shame on all those who are STILL blaming the parents of this unfortunate kid, although they mentioned that the kid has been vaccinated 3 times. Have a heart and at least feel sorry for the little kid.

Masoud Jun 27, 2014 08:08pm

This is a very serious issue, catching polio virus even after getting vaccinated three times during one year means what? Several questions arises, there should be an inquiry by competent persons to find out the reasons to this unfortunate polio attack.

Shah Zaman Jun 27, 2014 08:21pm

//Earlier reports suggested that the child's family had refused vaccination, but the family refutes this allegation.//

I wish there is some medical tests available to check if the kid was in fact vaccinated or not.

khan Jun 27, 2014 08:47pm

Why is this occurring? Because we have neglected the Pashtuns in terms of educating them. For years they have been exploited, angered and used (e.g. for Kashmir, Afghanistan e.t.c). Now when we see the effects of the actions of our previous irresponsible governments, we again blame them. Do you think this will cause them to change, to support Pakistan ( by the way they do and with great passion, but this is declining very fast) even more? No it will drive them away, it will then be the other side's turn to use them ( and they will keep going through this cycle of finding a common ally until they are driven to death by starvation, disease and fatigue).

Mansoor Naqvi Jun 27, 2014 09:00pm

Vaccinations only trigger the body's natural mechanism to fight the disease and while low, there is a chance that this doesn't happen for some people. That is why high levels of vaccination are needed in the society, to protect those that don't develop immunity.

Imran A. Jun 27, 2014 09:59pm

I question the vaccination theory. It was copied from homeopathy but according to the founder of Homeopathy, vaccinations can become virulent if more than one virus is injected. For e.g. having a measles and polio vaccination can result in auto-immune disease and even cause Autism.

chao Jun 28, 2014 12:58am

the main reason for occurrence of polio despite vaccination is that the oral polio vaccine OPV administered to children in our country and the third world contains weakened live polio viruses which normally, according to scientific statistics, become active in one in 500000 vaccinated cases. but this incidence increases with the poor health of the children as indicated in the above article. that is why only injectable vaccine IPV is used in advanced countries. this means that we may continue to use OPV till doomsday and still polio will not be eradicated from our country and rest of the third world. but our establishment considers it a bonanza because dollar aid will continue to flow. we must switch to IPV if we are to eradicate polio from our country.

omer khan shaheen Jun 28, 2014 12:59am

Mismanagement and lack of our own research infrastructure in health sector has put the lives of millions of Pakistani children in grave danger. Unfortunately to a level, that hundreds of children have died."Thanks to the doctors who despite of their promise i.e. (" To serve the cause of humanity"), succeed!, but in serving the cause of their own pockets. Carry on filling your pockets our corrupt friends!, days of your freedom are numbered, in both the worlds.

Ahmed Jun 28, 2014 01:29am

more education, less religion is the solution

Salman Ahmed Jun 28, 2014 01:41am

@hajil rashmi pls read....they vaccinated him.

Salman Ahmed Jun 28, 2014 01:41am

@Realist...... pls read....they vaccinated him.

Salman Ahmed Jun 28, 2014 01:43am

@Rizwan..... pls read....they vaccinated him.

Akhlesh Jun 28, 2014 02:45am

@Imran A. That is nonsense. The study showing autism to be a consequence of vaccination was shown to be fraudulent and its perpetrator confessed; see

BR Jun 28, 2014 02:51am

International conspiracy against Pakistan. WHO was so fast to put travel strains on Pakistan. 2nd victim of this agonizing biological warfare is Syria.

event horizon Jun 28, 2014 03:03am

@anony I am not one of those who wrote against the parents. But I suspect the parents are lying. It is very common in Pakistan to lie and hold the government responsible for everything.

Sunny , USA Jun 28, 2014 08:59am

Oral polio vaccine needs to be administered multiple times (3-5 and in some cases upto 8-10 times ) to be fully effective. The number of doses it takes to immunize a child depends entirely on the child

aqsa ghouri Jun 28, 2014 12:06pm

The oral polio vaccine (OPV) is made from a live polio virus. Although the live virus vaccine is highly effective at protecting against polio, oral polio vaccine can cause a rare but serious reaction called paralytic poliomyelitis. One case occurred for every 2 to 3 million doses of oral vaccine administered (polio cause by oral polio vaccine). In 2000, the U.S. switched to the inactivated polio vaccine (injection). This used an inactive (dead) form of the virus that cannot cause polio. The Oral vaccine is still used in many parts of the world because it is less expensive than the inactivated polio vaccine and also is better at keeping the disease from spreading to others.

Amir Jun 28, 2014 04:07pm

The parents here are not educated, but the cold chain that requires to be maintained failed. Maybe it had failed when the polio medication came to the organization, and they did not bother to ensure that this needs to be maintained at a certain temperature.

Therefore it is not the uneducated population, but the apathy of our so called educated Ministry of Health...who fave failed in this.

AAfromUSA Jun 28, 2014 05:04pm

@aqsa ghouri, Also important to note that vaccines are not cures, they are preventive measures by preparing healthy person's immune system against a previously unknown virus. If a person is already infected and virus is already in its course multiple vaccinations could only exacerbate the infection. " In very rare cases, the administration of OPV results in vaccine-associated paralysis associated with a reversion of the vaccine strains to the more neurovirulent profile of wild poliovirus. In a few instances, such vaccine strains have become both neurovirulent and transmissible and have resulted in infectious poliomyelitis." quoted from WHO.