PESHAWAR: The laboratory test has found the anti-polio vaccine to be safe for children, said commissioner of Peshawar division Amjad Ali Khan on Wednesday.
“None of the children taken to the hospitals on Monday had suffered from adverse reaction to vaccination. The laboratory test has declared the vaccine safe for children,” commissioner of Peshawar division Amjad Ali Khan told a seminar at the district council hall on Wednesday.
The commissioner asked religious scholars and elected representatives to counter misconception spread by certain elements about anti-polio vaccination.
He said the government would ensure that all children get vaccinated for protection against diseases.
Peshawar deputy commissioner Mohammad Ali Asghar highlighted the importance of the administration of anti-polio drops to children.
Claims no child reported adverse reaction to vaccine
He said the administration had terminated the services of 448 community health workers and supervisors in Peshawar over dereliction of duty in the ongoing anti-polio campaign and would continue such crackdown.
Hospital director of the Lady Reading Hospital Dr Khalid Masud said the people should disregard propaganda about anti-polio vaccine and believed that the use of vaccine didn’t have any side-effects.
He said it was necessary for the children to be immunised not only against polio but all against other vaccine-preventable diseases for own health.
DHO Dr Gul Mohammad said polio was the only childhood disease, which could be eradicated by vaccination.
The religious scholars, who were also in attendance, promised to advocate vaccination in an effective manner and said they would tell people that the vaccination was purely a health matter and therefore, it should be allowed for the children’s good health.
Additional DC Shahid Ali Khan, AC Peshawar Sarah Rehman and Town-II nazim Faridullah Khan also attended the event.
Meanwhile, officials of the health department told Dawn that the joint efforts by clerics and administration were the right approach to counter propaganda against anti-polio vaccination.
They said the people looked to clerics for guidance on controversial matters and therefore, their support would strengthen immunisation campaign.
The officials said the propaganda that the polio vaccination rendered people infertile and that Islam didn’t allow it before one suffered polio was false.
They said Badabher incident against vaccination, which turned out to be a conspiracy, endangered anti-polio campaign in Peshawar, one of the high-risk regions for the virus.
The officials said the department had been vaccinating over six million children in every campaign but a fraction (50,000) remained unvaccinated.
They said without tackling the issue administratively and religiously, vaccination campaigns won’t have a smooth sailing.
The officials said anti-polio workers couldn’t force the hostile people for vaccinating their children.
They said in the last few years, around 50 health workers and policemen were killed allegedly by militant groups.
The officials said the issue was more of the administrative nature and as those declining vaccination for decades didn’t face action, vaccinators felt scared to visit areas, where people were opposed to immunisation.
They said few months ago, anti-polio workers marked the fingers of children without vaccinating them to show coverage on one hand and prevent the people’s anger on the other.
Published in Dawn, April 25th, 2019