LAHORE - Health experts has found the entire stock of vaccine in Sheikhupura useable, contradicting the assertion of District Coordination Officer that had led to stoppage of an anti polio campaign in the district during the last week.

The Sheikhupura DCO stopped health mangers from administering polio drops, taking plea that the vaccine was not “fit for use” due to lack of maintenance of cold chain. His action not only deprived children of below five years of age from the shield against polio but also caused refusals from parents in several other districts.

According to the insiders, the DCO took the extreme step against the advice of Executive District Officer. Instead of getting the stock checked from experts, he went on to hold a press conference for announcing stoppage of anti-polio campaign in the district. Taking notice of his ‘complaint’, Health Services Director General Dr Zahid Pervaiz deputed Additional Director General Health Dr Nazir Hussain to check the available stock in the district with the help of foreign and local experts.

A special team, comprising Dr Nazir Hussain, WHO Team Leader in Punjab, Dr Wende, Sheikhupura Health EDO Dr Rana Imran Ali, Health District Officer Dr Noor Muhammad Aulakh, District Surveillance Coordinator Dr Ahmed Saddain, Polio Eradication Officer Dr Ali Feroze, District Superintendent Vaccination Muhammad Rasheed and Assistant Superintendent Vaccination Ahmed Sarmad inspected the entire stock of Oral Polio Vaccine and found it fit for use.

The team first visited Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) store at the DHQ Hospital and checked two batches of 2400 doses kept at 4 degree Celsius. The Vaccine vial monitor (VVM) was slightly discoloured but was at stage two, useable as per the Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs) of WHO. The team then visited District EPI store at District Officer Health (DOH) office and checked another 2840 doses kept at -28 C. The team also visited District Polio Control Room at DHQ Hospital and found that entire staff was present and all equipment were in proper working condition. The team examined all the findings at the meeting of District Health Management Team and reached to the conclusion that the vials in question were effective and useable as per the set SOPs.  

Health DG Dr Zahid Pervaiz said that the department immediately reacted to the complaint of DCO Sheikhupura and get the stock in question checked from team of experts including WHO representative Dr Wende. He said that the entire stock was useable as per the set SOPs. He said that the report has been forwarded to the quarters concerned for information and further action.