Over 3,000 children given expired polio drops

Many develop fever; authorities in Wana to launch an investigation.


Zulfiqar Ali June 25, 2012

DERA ISMAIL KHAN:


Over 3,000 children – below the age of five years – have been immunised with expired polio vaccines in Shakai Valley, about 30km north of Wana Bazaar in South Waziristan Agency, an official of the political administration has revealed.


Senior official Aslam Jawed, who seized the expired polio vaccines in Shakai himself, told The Express Tribune: “During the June 14 and 15 polio campaign, 200 polio vials which contained expired polio drops were given to children in Sanga, Manthoi, Mandatta and Landi Noor areas of Shakai. Each vial was used to administer drops to 15 to 18 children. In total at least 3,000 children have been given the expired polio vaccine.”

Jawed further said that the expired vials were seized and submitted along with a report to the office of the assistant political agent of Wana Sub-division, adding that the expiry date written on the vials was May, 2012.

When contacted, the assistant political agent’s office confirmed to The Express Tribune that a report about the expired polio vials has been received. It was revealed that the office will launch an investigation to find out the reasons behind the ‘serious’ incident.

Effects on children

The expired drops seemed to have affected a number of children.

Regarding his son’s health, Muhammad Nawaz Khel, resident of Landi Noor, Shakai said that on June 14 a polio team came to his house and his two year and nine month old son, Shah Zeb, was given the expired polio drops.

That night Zeb’s temperature started rising rapidly and early in the morning he had to be shifted to the Noor Muhammad Medical Clinic in Wana Bazaar.

“Doctors at the clinic told us that he has developed a chest infection,” the father said.

Khel added: “In the morning we came to know that children in other houses of Landi Noor were also suffering from high fever. But we never thought that they were getting sick because of the polio vaccination.

“We are willing to immunise our children but we do not want to kill them by giving them expired vaccines. An investigation should be launched to find out how this could happen.”

Meanwhile, South Waziristan Agency Surgeon Shar Zali Khan was contacted several times for comments but to no avail. Sources said that government departments at first tried to keep this incident a secret. But days later it became public knowledge as stricken children were brought to clinics in Shakai and Wana Bazaar.

South Waziristan is one of the seven tribal agencies where the polio virus has not been eliminated. Earlier, polio virus (P-1) was confirmed in a four-year-old in Panj Gena, Tehsil Birmal, Wana sub-division.

Published in The Express Tribune, 25th, 2012.

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COMMENTS (10)

Raj - USA | 8 years ago | Reply | Recommend

@Syed: @Mo.: @Imran Con: @THE:

@Mo. & @Imran Con are 100% correct. Expired vaccination just jeans that the vaccination has lost its potency and is ineffective. If the vaccination were contaminated this could cause problem but just expired vaccination shall not cause and adverse affect.

No one would like to give expired vaccination for their children as it does not serve the purpose intended and also leaves the parents and children in false hopes of having been protected against the disease. These children have to be revaccinated though just to be sure that they are protected.

Agree with @Syed that more care should be taken as it is already difficult to get the children vaccinated and any such incidence will only affect the vaccination campaign.

Additionally, the vaccination drops should be kept refrigerated and carried to the camps in ice boxes for it to be effective. If not done so, these vaccinations as not of any use as they loose potency.

I believe that every parent in the tribal and far-off areas would like their children to be vaccinated but it is their fear of the Mullas, not that they trust the Mullas and believe in their anti-vaccination preachings, that keeps them away.

dv sikka | 8 years ago | Reply | Recommend Playing with the life of small children for a few rupees is the most wicked crime.
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