PESHAWAR - The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa hospitals and health units are facing acute shortage of Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine administered to children against Tuberculosis.

TB Control Programme In-charge Dr Taj Mohammad said that vaccine for the children is short for the last 45 days; however, he said that other vaccines administrated to adults are available. Sometimes, the federal government suspends the supply and occasionally provision of the stock to the local hospital takes some time. However, any further delay in supply of the vaccine will cause problems to the children, he said.

Expanded Programme on Immunisation, Assistant Director Dr Temor told The Nation the shortage took place due to late purchase of the vaccines at federal level and after purchasing, every province got half of its quota. He said that there is no shortage at the main office but the delivery process to each district would take time.

He said that the deputy director, who is visiting Islamabad, would bring additional stock, ensuring early delivery to the district centres.

BCG is mainly administered to a child during his initial months against Tuberculosis. The WHO recommended BCG to be given to all children born in the countries highly endemic for TB.

India and Pakistan introduced BCG mass immunisation in 1948 and they were the first countries outside Europe to do so. It is pertinent to mention that main reason behind the shortage of these vaccines was reckless attitude of the federal government which delayed its procurement. This delay may cause health hazards to the children who have not been timely immunised.