Spread of poliovirus: Travellers need vaccination papers from today

Published: June 1, 2014
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A passenger being administered polio drops at airport. PHOTO: AFP

A passenger being administered polio drops at airport. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: 

The federal government will begin enforcing the International Health Regulations recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for all outbound travellers from Pakistan from today (June 1), requiring them to carry a polio vaccination certificates.

The WHO, on May 5, had imposed travel restrictions on Pakistan over its failure to control the spread of poliovirus. However, the federal government expressed its displeasure over this decision and informed the global health body that it was not prepared for it. Hence, the government had asked for time till June 1 for the effective implementation of the IHR recommendation.

Talking to The Express Tribune, an official from the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination (NHSRC), on the condition of anonymity, said few meetings were held at the ministry on Saturday to gear up efforts for the effective implementation of the IHR reconditions.

An advisory has been prepared to be send to all the provinces and public health departments regarding the mandatory vaccination of people.

Sharing a few points from the advisory, the official said it says that the provincial government should ensure that each person, irrespective of its age, caste and creed planning to travel abroad, should be vaccinated against polio. They should be issued certificates free of charge.

All the major public hospitals and international airports should have their polio counters open and functioning for 24 hours.

All these public hospitals should provide a proper sitting or waiting areas for travellers coming for vaccination, the official added.

The polio certificate issued to any one will be valid for one year.

A person who has planned his foreign trip earlier can get vaccinated four weeks before the date of departure or in case of an emergency, can get it done at the airport.

Regarding polio vaccines, the official said that for the time being, they procured them on loan from the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI), which will later be replaced by the vaccines coming from donor agencies or the countries which have pledged to provide them. Among others, Saudi Arabia has pledged to procure 10 million polio vaccines for Pakistan for this cause, said the official.

A high-level meeting of donor agencies is scheduled for Monday to discuss how they can support Pakistan for the effective implementation of IHR recommendations, he added.

Around 15,000 doses of polio vaccines have been provided to the Benazir Bhutto International Airport Islamabad and the counter will be activated 24/7 from Saturday midnight.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2014.

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Reader Comments (31)

  • Jun 1, 2014 - 10:56AM

    This had to come and be accepted as a fact of our total negligence. Now the clean up has to start in right earnest. No more negligence to health and fear of the TTP. Pakistan needs to pull up its socks and take life seriously. Salams

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  • Dr. Khalid
    Jun 1, 2014 - 11:14AM

    Very embarrassing, I wonder if NS will also be swallowing the OPV drops before going on foreign trips.

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  • Dr. Khalid
    Jun 1, 2014 - 11:18AM

    I think this is totally wrong, OPV/IPV is only for kids. Now it’s being used on adults to please foreign powers.

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  • M I Khan
    Jun 1, 2014 - 12:36PM

    A whole nation turned into CHILDREN. Thank you Maulvis!

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  • Mumtaz Siddiqui
    Jun 1, 2014 - 12:56PM

    It is in everyone’s interest to get rid of the dreadful disease. My Question is that above 5 years of age, was considered to have gained immunity against polio,. so why adults have to take it?

    If some ADULT (53 years of age) is under treatment with medicines which brings down the immunity system, the vaccines are forbidden. In those cases how can a person travel?

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  • Ali Abbasi
    Jun 1, 2014 - 1:13PM

    Is this for everybody? What of adults already inoculated in their childhood?

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  • Insomniac
    Jun 1, 2014 - 2:00PM

    Since all this polio eradication is hugely sponsored by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation under the brand name of WHO, it is completely okay for an IT intellect to do as he wishes without any concerns for what is right and what is wrong in the first place.
    If Gates were using an AK-47 on children, someone would surely stop him. But he is using vaccine – poison by any other name — so perhaps the question should really be about Gates’ agenda? He believes that the world population needs to drop by several billion souls, and maybe this is his way of “contributing”? For someone of his intelligence, he seems to pay little heed to any opposing medical or scientific evidence. He “believes” that GMO foods will save the poor and starving, while evidence forms mountains of how destructive they are. He embraces nuclear energy while Fukushima Daiichi continues to poison not only parts of Japan but a whole stretch of the Pacific Ocean, fish and mamals alike. Why would we worry about “enemies” when we have “friends” like this?

    Ignorance is bliss maybe.

    Please post my comment >.<

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  • Bob
    Jun 1, 2014 - 2:25PM

    It was coming our way! What a terrible low, an outcast in the whole world community.

    We don’t deserve to exist as a nation. I personally have lost hope in Pakistan.

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  • Faisal
    Jun 1, 2014 - 2:29PM

    I wonder if we ask Mr. Sharif about this his answer would be “What more could our poor ‘Atomic Country’ could do in this regard ! “

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  • Ajamal
    Jun 1, 2014 - 3:01PM

    If we were an honorable nation, we would have punished those responsible for this state of affairs, specifically, those
    – responsible for not ensuring quality of drops;
    – responsible for not quarantining FATA and ensuring those coming out of FATA were vaccinited;
    – Sindh government failure to fully vaccinate all migrants from FATA

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  • Wali
    Jun 1, 2014 - 3:06PM

    Pakistan had asked for some time to prepare to implement the WHO recommendation on polio vaccination for travels… “Meetings were held at the Ministry on saturday”… This speaks volumes of the shambles.
    They had bearly a month to prepare for this and no effective strategy and preparedness. No information provided to public and how the program will be implemented…all we know is vaccination shortage expectedely and money making venture for some!

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  • baig
    Jun 1, 2014 - 3:52PM

    the media is in their hand including our media they can say whatever suits then. i don’t believe that only Pakistan and few other countries has got it.

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  • Bob
    Jun 1, 2014 - 4:21PM

    @ Insomniac: Are you serious? or have you lost all your logic somewhere. It amazes me that people like you exist. What a pity, may God saves Pakistan.

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  • Jun 1, 2014 - 4:21PM

    Cool. I’m travelling to Dubai tomorrow. I’ll see if they have set up counters.

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  • Nikki
    Jun 1, 2014 - 4:39PM

    Will the first lady Mrs. Kalsoom Nawaz take s0me drops before boarding?

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  • Waleed
    Jun 1, 2014 - 5:06PM

    Believe it or not, the persons hampering vaccination in their held areas were regularly administering vaccines to their own children. For what ever reason, it is a reality now. To waive off the conditions, our nation has to demonstrate itself as a responsible entity and make it sure that no exportation takes place from Pakistan in next six months.

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  • farooq
    Jun 1, 2014 - 6:46PM

    This decision of NS government has to be challenged in the supreme court as mostly vaccination of polio is for kids I guess. Why would someone need a vaccination if he had already taken polio drops as a child? Who will ensure the quality of these vaccinations? Recently, children have died due to I guess measles vaccines so what can you say about these polio vaccines? NS and his family should be given the same quality vaccines that are given to a common man. This has to be challenged in the supreme court otherwise these people will go to any length to please their foreign masters.Recommend

  • unbelievable
    Jun 1, 2014 - 7:06PM

    @Dr. Khalid:

    I think this is totally wrong, OPV/IPV
    is only for kids. Now it’s being used
    on adults to please foreign powers

    You must not be an MD – adults who have not been immunized can spread the polio virus even though as adults they don’t get the debilitating paralysis normally associated with the virus. This “ban” is to protect the rest of the World – if you want to blame someone I suggest you look in the mirror.

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  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Jun 1, 2014 - 8:36PM

    @unbelievable:
    I think Dr. Khalid is a “Dangar Dr.”

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  • Dr. Khalid
    Jun 2, 2014 - 12:13AM

    @unbelievable:
    Poor you… my question to you, do they do titters before the flight time and once they receive the results then they vaccinate the ones who needs to be vaccinated and spare the rest? Not possible even in develop countries! You probably are one those people who will do just about anything as long as the master are happy. There could have been a better system where no ones life was exposed to live viruses, especially sick and old with poor immune system.

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  • numbersnumbers
    Jun 2, 2014 - 12:28AM

    @Insomniac:
    Your conspiracy filled posting is first hand evidence that ” Ignorance is Bliss”!!!

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  • Wollstonecraft
    Jun 2, 2014 - 1:00AM

    Living in Pakistan about 35 or so years ago I remember having to obtain “Medical Certificate” for international travel. The process involved some sort of immunization through IV shots which came at a certain cost. No sooner did the process start, there were medical practitioners “selling” certificates without having to inconvenience oneself with a jab.

    I can only hope that this doesn’t turn into another paper exercise, not too dissimilar to the “Health Certificate” required on arrival in Pakistan.

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  • bahaha
    Jun 2, 2014 - 5:51AM

    @Insomniac:
    strange logic indeed. i too believed polio drops are a once in a lifetime thing at birth but then i also believed our parents were truthful people who did not manipulate or brainwash us. In this wretched place everyone is a liar. perhaps our parents do need the drops.

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  • Dr.Khalid
    Jun 2, 2014 - 8:13AM

    @unbelievable:
    @Ch. Allah Daad:
    Why don’t you come and see me, address is simple, P.I.M.S Islamabad, department of Heamotology!

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  • Timorlane
    Jun 2, 2014 - 11:38AM

    There’s reported shortage of polio vaccine certificates at Karachi airport and gangs offering these certificates are already in action there. Wadera Corruption Party’s intelligent corrupt minds don’t let a single opportunity to make dirty money go waste

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  • Disturbed
    Jun 2, 2014 - 12:59PM

    Woah! I wouldn’t want to take that! It’s insane! This needs to be challenged!

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  • MAK
    Jun 2, 2014 - 5:20PM

    @ Mumtaz Siddiqui

    Hahaha! Don’t you get it. This is the nation who can sell anything for money. I bet if WHO said we will offer you X Millions of Dollar if you have Polio Vaccine then every single official including head of states dead of alive will come up with Polio vaccine certificates, infact you might find them a head in a queue having drops as a proof :-) . Utterly disgrace to this nation and its leader(s).

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  • 3rdRockFromTheSun
    Jun 2, 2014 - 6:47PM

    @Insomniac : I hope you do not use any Windows software – as part of Bill Gates’ diabolic plan, he has engineered all his Microsoft software to carry the polio virus too! Be afraid, be very afraid!!!

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  • mokh
    Jun 2, 2014 - 10:51PM

    @unbelievable:
    The fact is that oral drops are not normally used nowadays in the world but may be used for children under 18-for adults there can be a severe reaction to these drops and therefore the inert vaccine is given to people over the age of 18

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  • msail
    Jun 3, 2014 - 11:30PM

    Can someone please clarify this:

    If a person traveling to Pakistan gets his Polio vaccination certificate from his country of residence, would that certificate be valid when the person is traveling back from Pakistan?

    Thanks!

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  • bahahaha
    Jun 4, 2014 - 8:03AM

    OK !!so we have to: MAKE MINE SCOTCH ON THE ROCKS with drops

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