LAHORE   -   A child who recently tested positive for poliovirus has evaded paralysis due to doses of vaccine, claimed the provincial head of polio control programme.

Giving details of the case, Salman Ghani said investigation into the polio case has revealed that child evaded virus attack because parents never refused vaccination.

“It is heartening to note that child had received seven dozes of oral polio vaccine during campaigns and three dozes in routine immunization from a health facility,” said Salman while speaking at a meeting with polio eradication partners at the Emergency Operations Centre for Polio Eradication on Monday.

“The vaccination has helped the child recover after the virus attack and now he is perfectly alright,” he said. He confirmed that the virus had affected two more children aged 9 and 44 months in Lahore and Jhelum respectively and now total polio cases stood at five in Punjab.

About the second child from Jhelum, Salman added that the child also received complete oral polio vaccine dozes in polio campaigns and during routine immunization.  However due to continuous circulation, virus was found in stools of both the children.

“Polio program is well aware of the persistent risk to children posed by polio virus circulation in Lahore, Rawalpindi as well as South Punjab. It is making hectic efforts to stop the circulation”, he said.

“The percentage of parents who refuse polio vaccine due to various misconceptions is negligible in Punjab. However, children recorded as unavailable in polio eradication drives remain a concern and are more susceptible to the virus. The situation in Lahore is of particular concern but the vaccination teams are going all the distance to reach every child with oral polio vaccine,” he said, adding, the government was devising mechanism to reach all the missed children and children on the move.

“A special campaign will be held in these districts from July 22-25. More children have been reached with polio vaccine than ever before,” he said

Salman assured parents that polio vaccine was safe, efficacious, and approved by the government’s drug regulatory authority. He emphasized the need for all children to be immunized during every round of campaign.

During 2018, 12 polio cases were reported from Pakistan including three from Balochistan, six from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Tribal Districts, two from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and one from Sindh. No polio case was reported in Punjab in 2018.

In 2019, the total number of polio cases stands at 45. Globally Pakistan and Afghanistan are the two countries left which are still endemic.