LAHORE: The Punjab government has earmarked 1.2 million people of the provincial capital for the second dose of cholera vaccination after the outbreak of the disease hit 17 union councils.
The epidemic is said to be the outcome of contaminated water use and the public health experts say the underground drinking water has become unsafe for use in most parts of Lahore.
According to the official figures, 27,000 suspected cases of cholera were reported all over the province during the last month and most of them -- 7,700 -- surfaced in Lahore, raising an alarm for the health department.
An official said that following the rising number of cases in Punjab and outbreak in Lahore, the Punjab health authorities submitted a request to the federal government to make emergency arrangements of cholera vaccination to avoid the new health crisis. The request was sent on the recommendations of the technical working group on cholera, which was of the view that a target population of 1.2 million in Lahore required emergency vaccination.
It had conveyed that several patients had to be hospitalised owing to the complications of the ailment and the only remedy was the administration of the vaccination which was not available due to its shortage. He said Lahore was the third city of the country after Karachi and Dera Bugti of Balochistan where the cholera outbreak had been reported.
“On the Punjab government’s request, Islamabad provided it 2.2 million doses of cholera vaccine,” he said. He added that the health teams completed 15-day vaccination and two-day catch-up drive by administrating it to 1.2 million target population in Lahore.
About the efficacy of the vaccination, the official said, its first dose provided 63 per cent and second dose 47 per cent safety for a period of three years against cholera.
The government figures claimed the health teams accessed over 95 per cent of the target population in the vaccination drive. However, there are some reports that it was less than 85 per cent.
In order to confirm its true impact and number of target population which got vaccine, the health department would go for a third party assessment, he said.
While sharing details of the drive, he said the campaign would be concluded in 17 high-risk UCs of Lahore across nine towns in two phases. In the phase-1, he said, oral cholera vaccine was administered to all population of one year and above in the selected UCs. A total of 468 mobile and 62 fixed teams (31 morning and 31 evening) took part in the drive to administer vaccine.
The second phase would start three months after the completion of the first one, the official said.
Published in Dawn, August 18th, 2022