KARACHI-Sindh Minister for Health Dr Azra Pechuho Monday urged parents not to refuse the vaccinators visiting their homes for administration of oral polio vaccine (OPV) even if their children may have been regularly covered under routine immunisation.

Talking to journalists following the inaugural of the national OPV campaign at the Sindh Emergency Operation Centre for Polio, she said the additional drops received by their kids under OPV hold no hazard but simply boost immunity of the recipients. “The exercise is meant to provide blanket cover to all children against the virus that persists in our environment,” said the health minister who is also a senior doctor. Acknowledging that reluctance has been registered among many of the affluent families in easing access of their under-five children to the mobile teams of vaccinators, engaged in door-to-door oral polio immunisation campaign, she said the elitist mindset has to be done away with.

She urged the media, both print and electronic, to make people realise that OPV being administered at the clinics of renowned paediatricians or that of government-run dispensaries or by authorised mobile teams are of same quality arranged by the government through Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

“We at every level have to understand that the polio virus that persists in our country and that of Afghanistan needs a last push through strengthening our kids’ immunity and ever single dose received by them help achieving the target,” she emphasised.

Dr. Pechuho said there were some 100,000 kids, including 35,000 under five in Karachi only who were reported to be not available at home during previously held campaigns this year.

Government as per law can register FIRs against those who refuse vaccination, she said warning that legal action can be taken, however, preferred strategy is to motivate parents and caretakers.