‘Need to boost routine immunisation’

Oral polio drops will make way for injectable vaccine gradually,says PolioPlus chairman.

Written by SURBHI KHYATI | Lucknow | Published: May 19, 2013 1:54:26 am

Oral polio drops will make way for injectable vaccine gradually,says PolioPlus chairman.

In order to sustain its polio-free status,Uttar Pradesh will have to strengthen its routine immunisation,all the more because oral polio vaccines are gradually being replaced by injectable vaccines.

Though the state has managed to keep itself polio-free for three consecutive years now,its routine immunisation coverage is abysmally low,with less than half of its children — 45.3 per cent as per annual health survey report of 2010-11 — getting full immunisation coverage.

According to Robert S Scott,chairman,International PolioPlus Committee,Rotary International,who was in Lucknow on Saturday,in order to wipe out polio from the world,the World Health Organisation is planning to introduce injectable vaccines gradually in 144 polio affected countries. In India,as of now,only oral polio vaccines are administered to immunise children against the disease.

However,because the fear of vaccine derived polio cases will always remain with oral vaccine which contains live virus of polio,the world has to stop using oral polio drops and switch to injectable vaccine,said Scott,while talking to The Sunday Express. He said the injectable polio vaccine is already being used in several countries of Europe and America.

“The proposal for using injectable vaccines instead of oral vaccine across the world will be tabled before the World Health Assembly slated to meet on May 20. In my opinion,India will have to introduce injectable vaccine once it gets the polio-free certificate,” he said.

However,Scott pointed out,while polio drops,which did the trick for India and other countries in wiping out polio so far,can be administered by anyone,injectable vaccines require experts to administer the vaccine.

Scott also met health minister Ahmed Hasan and principal secretary Praveer Kumar in this regard on Friday and was assured that the government is working towards strengthening routine immunisation in the state.

Rotary International has suggested that the department can get routine immunisation programme flagged off by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in order to put more emphasis on the programme,said Ashok Mahajan,former director,Rotary International and member of Polio Plus Committee,who also accompanied Scott in the meeting.

Further,Rotary International has also decided to give Champion Award for Polio Plus Programme to Samajwadi Party supremo and former chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav for supporting the programme in his tenure as chief minister,said Mahajan.

Appreciating the role of Rotary International’s Muslim Ulama Committee in eradicating polio from UP,Scott said the same models of Ulama Committees can be replicated in several polio affected countries including Pakistan and Nigeria.

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