PESHAWAR: The number of polio refusal cases in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has dropped drastically in the recently-concluded vaccination campaign.
According to official statistics, the province recorded 72,000 refusals against the oral polio vaccine (OPV) during the five-day campaign conducted from December 16. Vaccine’s hesitancy among the parents has been the main obstacle in the past.
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The authorities are planning to conduct a forensic analysis regarding the present success and causes of the increase in refusal cases in the past.
Peshawar, which used to record the bulk of refusals against vaccination in previous campaigns, has registered 39,082 cases, Kurram tribal district 6,504, Mardan 6,607, North Waziristan tribal district 6,211. Swabi 3470, Bannu 3,213, and Lakki Marwat recorded 1,909 while 147,919 children couldn’t be reached by vaccinators during the recent drive.
Coverage in KP was recorded at 98.2 percent. The province has detected 79 polio cases of the total 11 confirmed countrywide in 2019 so far.
Dr Rana Mohammad Afzal, national coordinator of Emergency Operation Centre, told media that a total 230,000 refusals had been recorded in the nationwide drive.
The number of children, who remained unvaccinated due to refusal against OPV, included 145,000 in Sindh; 72,000 in KP; and 8,000 in Balochistan.
“However, vaccinators are engaged to cover refusals and missed children from targeted union councils in core reservoirs. We hope that the number of unimmunized children will further come down,” he said.
The refusals have come down to only 0.64 per cent in December from 2.54 percent recorded in April this year. Situation is Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is more encouraging because refusal rate in this highly infected province has come down to one percent from 10 per cent, recorded in the last campaign.
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He said that given the recent strides with regard to ensuring over 99 percent vaccination, they had planned to do a forensic analysis to determine the causes of success. He added that it was significant to carry out analysis and ascertain the causes of gaps and fill the same in the next campaigns.