Islamabad -Expanded Program of Immunization (EPI) on Monday distributed over 1,200 motorbikes to facilitate the vaccinators of the programme, said a statement.

The statement released said that in a bid to strengthen the capacity of the EPI programme through facilitating the mobility of vaccinators of the programme, Federal EPI through National Immunization Support Project – NISP procured and handed over motorbikes to the vaccinators.

It said that based on the need of the area, the motorbikes are distributed to the vaccinators of federating areas (AJK, ICT/CDA, KPTD and Gilgit-Baltistan). Total of 1,254 motorbikes have been handed over to the vaccinators of the federating areas; i.e. 42 motorbikes are handed over to the vaccinators of Islamabad (CDA/ICT), 376 motorbikes to AJK, 662 motorbikes are handed over to the EPI programme of KPTD 164 motorbikes to G-B while 10 motorbikes are with the Federal EPI.

Vaccinators are considered as the backbone of the EPI programme as they reach every corner of the country to vaccinate all eligible children against vaccine preventable diseases. Mobility of the vaccinators is seen as a main hindrance in order to complete their tasks. Therefore, provision of vehicles is a much needed intervention that will facilitate in improving the performance and address the issue of mobility of vaccinators

Earlier, 1,130 motorbikes had been procured by the EPI Punjab for their vaccinators in 2018-19. Similarly, EPI Sindh arranged 500 motorbikes in 2018. Balochistan and KP EPI programmes had arranged 300 and 658 motorbikes respectively in recent past.

Given the enormous impact of COVID-19 pandemic, the essential immunisation services also faced a huge brunt as the coverage went down. Realising the severity of the situation, the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination took major steps to reinvigorate the programme.

Based on the evidence, the programme identified the low coverage areas to accelerate outreach activities to cover children in pockets, establishment and refurbishment of existing EPI centres is also one of major steps towards strengthening the basic health structures for the essential Immunisation services.