ISLAMABAD: As Pakistan makes edges towards the eradication of polio by moving from the oral polio vaccine (OPV) to the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV), the number of families that refuse to vaccinate their children has yet to allow the dream to come to fruition.
According to estimates from the Polio Programme, every vaccination campaign fails to vaccinate approximately 360,000 children, and around 40,000 parents refuse vaccinations.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), one in five children globally do not receive routine life-saving immunisations, and an estimated 1.5 million children die of preventable diseases. The main causes of hesitation on the part of parents are reportedly vaccine safety, and inaccurate beliefs that vaccinations can cause infertility, amongst other ailments.
The head of the National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) Dr Rana Safdar told Dawn that IPV will be introduced in Pakistan by the end of 2015 following WHO recommendations.
“IPV has been launched in Punjab and it is expected that the other provinces will start administering IPV by the end of September. However, the IPV launch ceremony will be held on 20th August,” he said.
“Since IPV is an injectable vaccine, to administer it requires training, better cold chain systems, injections and so on. The Global Alliance of Vaccine Immunization (GAVI) has been asked to provide these facilities free of cost until 2018,” he added.
“We hope to ensure that not a single child is missed, so that once all children are vaccinated polio will be eradicated in the country,” he said.
Approximately 29 polio cases have been reported in Pakistan this year. 306 cases were reported in 2014.
Published in Dawn, August 19th, 2015