Via The News International: Enough polio vaccine for next four months. Excerpt:
Pakistan has adequate stocks of oral polio vaccine (OPV) to immunise travellers for the next four months. As such, the question of non-availability of vaccine standing in way of implementation of the IHR travel conditions does not arise, ‘The News’ learnt from credible official sources here on Saturday.
Pakistan has already started vaccinating travellers by utilising OPV stocks that had been procured for national and sub-national immunization activities scheduled for 2014.
“At present, the provinces are providing vaccine from existing stocks in view of the polio emergency. These stocks will subsequently be replenished by the federal government,” the national technical focal person of the PM’s Polio Monitoring and Coordination Cell Dr. Altaf Bosan shared.
Dr. Bosan said Pakistan faces no difficulty whatsoever in implementation of the IHR condition, which makes it binding for all travelers from Pakistan to have two drops of polio vaccine before embarking on an international journey.
When asked who will procure polio vaccine for travellers, given that adult immunization is neither the mandate of Unicef nor EPI, both of which are responsible for immunisation of children aged up to 5 years only, Dr. Bosan said, “the government has initiated the process for procurement of additional vaccine for travellers from an international manufacturer. We have solicited the support of our partners, particularly the World Health Organisation, Unicef and USAID, and are hopeful that the stocks that are currently being depleted in view of the polio emergency, will be replenished within a little over two months of the funding being arranged.”
Once funds are available, it will take no more than three weeks for vaccine procurement. The entire process including delivery of vaccine will have been completed much ahead of three months. It is pertinent to mention that EPI is also working beyond its mandate by providing polio vaccine for compulsory immunisation of intending pilgrims.