CII supports polio vaccination


AT a time when polio virus is on the rampage with already seventy two cases reported across the country, Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has taken an important step which could prove to be vital to ensure one hundred per cent vaccination and save the children from this crippling disease.
The Council has validated around a hundred religious edicts in support of polio vaccination, sparking hopes that religion-based resistance against vaccination will decrease. One of the reasons Pakistan could not eradicate the polio virus are the rumours and stigmas attached to the vaccine that it causes infertility amongst the children. Definitely, the endorsement of Fatwas would help reduce the number of refusals during the upcoming polio vaccination campaign in the low transmission season. The propaganda campaign against the polio vaccine in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa really undermined the immunization campaign in the province this year and that is why most of the polio cases have been reported there. Whilst strict action needs to be taken against such elements, there is also need to launch an awareness campaign on a large scale to dispel the wrong impression about the vaccine. For this the audio and video messages of the members of CII and other religious scholars could be recorded and played on the media to allay the misperception that still exists amongst the parents about the anti-polio vaccine. Such a campaign should also abreast the parents especially those in the far flung and rural areas about the consequences of refusals. They must be informed that polio is a highly infectious disease that mainly affects children under the age of five. It invades the nervous system and can cause paralysis or even death. While there is no cure for polio, vaccination is the most effective way to protect children from the disease. Each time a child under the age of five is vaccinated, their protection against the virus is increased. Even Nigeria has controlled the poliovirus and now there are only two countries – Pakistan and Afghanistan – in which the poliovirus still exists, and our quarters concerned both at the federal and provincial levels should fulfil their responsibilities and prepare a comprehensive and flawless strategy to save our children from this vicious disease and make Pakistan polio free.