2200 Families Refuse to Vaccinate Their Children in Rawalpindi District

In an alarming revelation, at least 2,200 polio-refusal cases have been reported in Rawalpindi district during the ongoing drive.

According to reports, the recent anti-polio drive is focusing on 16 Union Councils (UCs) of Rawalpindi district. The campaign will end on February 28 (today).

Authorities have been informed about the people who refused to vaccinate their people for several reasons. Sources say that action will be taken against the parents that refused the vaccination.

The teams of the World Health Organisation (WHO), who are monitoring the polio drive, have expressed satisfaction on the quality of the vaccination used during the campaign.


Govt Increases Polio Vaccine Age Limit to 10 Years

The Chief Executive of District Health Authority, Dr. Muhammad Rashid, said the 16 Union Councils of the district were carefully selected for the anti-polio campaign because wild poliovirus was detected in samples taken from that area.

He added that the environmental samplings in the area will continue till the end of February in which children up to 10 years of age will be vaccinated.

  • Oral polio vaccine (OPV) and Injectable polio vaccine (IPV) requires two different procedures & skillset for vaccinating a child. In Pakistan, since the 1990s only school teachers are supposed to be performed this task, which also compromise their main responsibility and everyone know the situation of education in government schools and regularity of teachers in school (this is another issue which needs to be addressed). A teacher can pour OPV drops into the child mouth for which parents are also helping them, but IPV needs specialized skill sets and knowledge for injecting vaccine to a child for which these teachers are not trained, as they don’t have nursing staff degrees or certificate.

    Due to the above constraints, every caring parent will think about the following risk factors:

    1. Unqualified staff may cause injury to their child
    2. IPV may be expired
    3. Injectable syringes are may be reused
    4.The environment is not up to the mark to meet hygiene standard, as they use to give IPV in open air camps where dust and air can carry different viruses and bacterias.

    The above issues are enough for the parent to restrain and show resistance which is definitely not IGNORANCE but these health organization responsible for polio vaccine is portraying the situation like the parent are ignoring OPVs or IPV, however, this is not the fact in every case. Authorities must conduct a survey and address the issue that are causing parents refusal.

    The teaching staff even insist to vaccinate those children who were recently vaccinated from their hospitals where they are registered and timely vaccinated for all vaccines including OPV & IPV. Parents refuse because they have been verbally instructed by the Hospital Staff that your children are vaccinated and no further vaccination is required until the next vaccination period

    The teaching staff does not have gloves, mask, cap, their lab coats or appropriate field nursing dresses.

    In-fact no certificate issue to the parents or centralized/ computerized records were maintained in NADRA database for vaccination by these teachers vaccinating OPV or IPV.

    The wall of each home has been chalked by these polio workers with polio vaccination marks every month and there is no empty space left on the wall to look beautiful.

    These polio workers usually come in a time when only ladies are at home, and there are chances that robbers come over to the home in the name of Polio workers, that is also the main reasons ladies denies to open the door for especially new faces every month appear as polio worker. There is no system for the parents that the polio vaccination worker at their door is genuine polio worker with genuine polio vaccination in a controlled environment. Even sometimes they want to take the picture of children taking polio drops which is very abusive or insulting for the parent (as evidence you can see the picture in the front of this article, which looks very insulting).

    In spite of all above-mentioned issues, I salute the teachers who are miss-treated by the government to provided them least facilities for their transportation, daily food meals and allowances, they are serving to this very important cause and to save the lives of children from POLIO. The government should consider appointing nursing staff for polio vaccination purposes or designate Hospital and Diagnosis Centre for the Parents to get their child vaccinated and who keep records in NADRA System and fined those parent who has failed to get vaccinate their child especially in Big Cities (if it is not possible in remote areas.)

    I hope our new prime minister will look into the current 30 years old polio vaccination procedure/ practices and redesigned it for up to the standards and up to parents satisfaction.

    I will also appreciate Propakistani for considering raising a parent’s voice to improve the situation of polio vaccinations procedure/ practices that are running in the country.

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