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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@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.
This is a serious matter and should be investigated. There is a campaign against the polio vacination in thuis area. May be the purpose is to discourage vacination. However if the report is correct, then those involved should be punished and the affected children be provided necessary medical support.
@Imran Con: So, are you trying to say that giving them expired polio vaccine is not a problem? Even if you are a doctor, you need to come to your senses, this is a serious issue. How do you know that the expired drops don't have an affect on the children when several of them had fallen sick at the same time? Would you be OK with someone giving your child expired vaccine? I am all for vaccinating children against polio and making Pakistan polio free but we already have so many problems with this vaccination campain that we don't need something new everyday.
Where is the liberal outcry here when it was for taliban announcement?
By the way, that "Muhammad Nawaz Khel" guy's comments are false. His kid may have a chest infection but an expired polio vaccine would not cause it. Articles like this are one cause of what you guys love to blame on Dr. Afridi.
People need to knock off the fear mongering. Expired polio drops do not cause harm in relation to their expiration. It just means you should treat it as though it could possibly still be functioning as intended before doing it again with non-expired ones. That translates to waiting a few weeks and doing it again. Expired means the intended effect may not happen but even that is not a certainty. The expiration exists to make sure the vaccines do the intended job, not because it'll hurt you.
This is serious!