Friday, May 16, 2014

Polio vaccination mandatory for Pakistanis flying abroad from June 1

Pakistan’s health ministry has made it mandatory to have polio vaccination certificate from June 1, 2014, for those Pakistanis flying out to the UAE and other countries around the world.

The authority has sent out a circular whereby all the airports across the country will be equipped with special counters for polio vaccination for people of all ages and fields.

The World Health Organisation earlier this month issued an alert for nationals of Pakistan, Syria and Cameroon to have polio vaccination certificates prior to flying abroad in order to control the disease from spreading to other countries.

WHO said residents and long-term visitors going departing from Pakistan and Syria to receive a dose of OPV or IPV 4 weeks to 12 months prior to international travel; while those undertaking urgent travel (within 4 weeks) should be encouraged to receive a dose at least by the time of departure.

The global body said these measure are temporary but will remain in place 6 months after no new polio cases has been detected; but the travel restriction could extend to 12 months if no documentation of eradication measures have been taken.

In Pakistan, the government will set up special counters for polio vaccination at the federal and provincial hospitals across the country for people flying overseas. The federal government will supply polio vaccination certificates to the provincial governments and they’ll distribute in the hospitals.

Vaccination is mandatory for people of all ages even for the pregnant women, according to the statement issued by the country’s health authorities. It said there shouldn’t be any concern about taking oral polio vaccination for pregnant women as it’s not harmful during pregnancy.

All members of the National Assembly have been asked to monitor and ensure proper administration of the polio vaccination in their constituencies.

Pakistan’s Minister of State for National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination Saira Afzal Tarrar affirmed that the government will ensure elimination of polio from the country and urged all parties and community members to come forward and help in this national cause.

Some of the ministers have demanded penalties for those parents who don’t follow the instruction to administer polio vaccination.