PESHAWAR: Polio vaccine safe, says WHO official

August 01, 2006

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PESHAWAR, July 31: Brushing aside rumours about harmful effects polio vaccine, a WHO official has said that polio drops are safe and no anti-fertility agent, including oestrogen and progesterone, are added to it at any stage of its manufacturing nor any such agent is present in the final product.

This was stated by WHO Technical Adviser on Polio Eradication Initiatives for Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMRO) Dr M. H. Wahdan while briefing a technical consultative meeting on polio vaccine here on Monday.

NWFP Health Minister Inayatullah Khan, health experts, policy makers and representatives of donor agencies were also present on the occasion.

The WHO official said that the orally administered polio vaccine (OPV) procured by UN agencies, particularly by Unicef, was meeting the specifications set by the International Expert Committee on Biological Standardisation (ECBS).

“These specifications make it impossible for OPV to contain any other undeclared biological active substances such as viruses, hormones or other materials,” he said, adding that the WHO was verifying that manufactures of the OPV, used in the Global Polio Eradication Initiatives had met international ECBS specifications.

The expert said that OPV used in Pakistan was of the same high quality as was being administered globally.

The WHO adviser said that during the last 17 years more than 10 billion doses of polio vaccines had been provided to more than one billion children globally. “No side effects have been reported in this period,” he remarked.

Referring to rumours about polio vaccine, Dr Wahdan said that quality and safety of polio vaccines was guaranteed and WHO officials were well known to its trust-worthiness and also had knowledge of religious rulings.

He said that the same vaccines, used in Pakistan, were being administered in 50 other Muslim countries.