ISLAMABAD - The World Health Organisation (WHO) has formally accepted the government's proposal of granting two weeks' time for preparation to implement the travel recommendations for Pakistanis going abroad.

The WHO has given two weeks' grace period to three countries - Pakistan, Syria and Cameroon – that were recommended for travel restrictions to curb the transmission of polio virus across the globe. Pakistan had sought two weeks' time for preparations to implement travel recommendations, besides requesting WHO to help procure polio vaccine required for additional vaccination at the ports on Wednesday.

“It is very much understandable that the country needs time to mobilise resources and logistics for implementing the recommendations and the WHO agrees with that. It is the government who has to decide when it is in a position to fully implement the recommendation,” said WHO Country Director Dr Nima Saeed Abid while talking to The Nation.

Regarding the procurement of the vaccine he said, “We will work with the government and our international partner agencies to mobilise the resources needed for the vaccination of international travelers. The government consumes 40 million doses of vaccines during each national immunisation campaign so procuring vaccine for 10 million people travelling abroad annually is not a big issue”.

Meanwhile, on the directions of the Vice Chancellor Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University (Pims) a separate counter has been established for issuance of polio vaccination cards for all passengers intending to travel abroad.

"We have established counter at the Children Hospital, PIMS," SZAB Medical University Vice Chancellor Prof Javed Akram said during his brief media interaction at his office.

The polio vaccination cards, he said, would be issued to travelers who had plans to travel to any international destination in coming days helping them for a smooth trouble-free travel to any international destination.

"The counter is established at the Children Hospital since we are short of space at the University Hospital - PIMS," said Prof Javed. He informed that all travelers intending to travel abroad will not be charged for any fee for getting the requisite polio vaccination travel cards.

Prof Akram said polio vaccination travelling cards will be issued from 8:00am of the morning to 2:00pm of the afternoon at the Children Hospital. "The cards will also be issued on Friday from 8:00am to 12:00pm," maintained Prof Akram.

He said his office was open for any complaints and to handle any issue and citizens can also lodge a complaint if they face any difficulties in smooth delivery of the polio vaccination cards. He said all the adults would be vaccinated as per international health guidelines and would be given drops before issuance of polio travelling vaccination cards.

Meanwhile, responding to a question of media persons regarding routine immunisation of new born the Vice Chancellor of SZAB Medical University - PIMS, Prof Javed Akram said: "All the routine vaccination of children are readily available for newborns and we have a strong immunisation programme intact at the hospital that is personally monitored by me."

He said parents must ensure that vaccination shots are given to their children as per vaccination programme chart (cards) handed over to all the parents of new-born babies.