BARA: The family of a deceased child in Khyber tribal district has alleged that polio vaccination caused death of the child.

The deceased child’s father Muhammad Umar told media persons at Bara Press Club that he was told by the doctors of Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH) Peshawar that the child was weak due to premature birth and there was no need to administer him polio vaccination until he gets normal. He alleged that the local polio supervisor and a doctor of Dogra Hospital Bara forcibly administered polio drops to his six-month-old child at a time when he was not present at home. He said the condition of the child deteriorated after that and they took him to hospital where he could not survive.

Muhammad Umar said he is never against the polio vaccination as he has also served in the vaccination teams recently, but the issue with his child was different. He said the vaccination officials had no right to forcibly administer polio vaccine to his child when doctors had advised against it. He demanded the government to take action against vaccination officials who showed irresponsible behaviour which caused his child’s death. He said such irresponsible acts of the officials were damaging for the vaccination efforts in the area.

This is not the first time that such allegations have surfaced over polio vaccination. However, vaccination officials always maintain that the polio vaccination drops are safe in every respect for children.

Currently, Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two countries in the world which have not fully eradicated polio. The main cause behind the emergence of so many polio cases is refusal of parents to cooperate with the vaccination teams. Experts believe that polio vaccination efforts cannot succeed completely until the refusing parents are convinced to cooperate with vaccination teams.

While there is no cure for polio, vaccination is the most effective way to protect children from the crippling disease. With each vaccination of children below the age of five years, their protection against the virus is increased. No vaccination means more vulnerability to the virus particularly in Pakistan where it is endemic.