The Lahore High Court chief justice on Thursday directed the Health Department to ensure that it takes steps to address public’s concerns about the efficacy and authenticity of the polio vaccine.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial said the government should train vaccinators in how to properly store the vaccine so that its efficacy is not affected.
The chief justice ordered the department to create awareness among the public and to encourage parents to get their children vaccinated so that the menace could be eliminated.
He then disposed of the several petitions he was hearing in which petitioners had alleged that the government was using substandard vaccine or did not make proper arrangements to preserve its efficacy.
On Thursday, a Health Department official presented a cool box and a vial in court and said that the government had made all arrangements necessary for the campaign.
He told the judge that the vaccinators and all other staff were trained before every drive. The official said the government had run a vigorous media campaign this year to reassure the public about the efficacy of the vaccine. The government, he said, had adopted “measures followed internationally” for the storage of the vaccine.
The petitioners had alleged that the government was using substandard vaccine and cool boxes while transporting the vaccine to far-flung areas, which compromised is efficacy.
One of the petitioners had said that the government needed to legislate on polio. He said the absence of legislation is one of the reasons the anti-polio campaigns continue to fail. He pointed out that more than 16 cases of polio have been reported in 2012 across the country.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2012.