2.4m Kids Missed Polio Vaccines In 2016

The failure of the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) government to ensure the procurement of Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) in 2016 is now having a deadly effect on children born during that period.

This is because there are currently about 2.4 million Ghanaian children without any protection against Polio Virus Type Two due to the fact that they did not have the chance to be vaccinated against one of the six childhood killer diseases in 2016.

As a result, it is pushing the country back to its polio eradication fight as 16 cases of Polio Type Two had been confirmed since July 8, 2019 after 12 years when Ghanaians thought the disease had been eradicated.

Ghana planned introducing the IPV into the routine immunization in 2016 but the actual introduction took place in June 2018 due to the shortage of the vaccine, according to officials from the Ghana Health Service (GHS).

Yesterday at a news conference on the introduction of the IPV for kids within that missed period, the GHS said it was targeting over 2 million Ghanaian children in a nationwide exercise until February 25, 2020 to make up for the loss.

The Director of Public Health, GHS, Dr. Badu Sarkodie, addressing the media, said health authorities had mapped out districts and regions and executed outbreak response vaccination campaigns in 10 out of 16 regions, using type-2 only Oral Polio Vaccine (mOPV2).

He said the last of the vaccination ended on February 8, 2020.

Dr. Sarkodie said the next stage was the IPV campaign targeted at children born from January 2016 to February 2018 – approximately one year 9 months to four years old to ensure that they have maximum protection against any polio infection.

The exercise is taking place at health centres and at a number of temporary immunization posts set up in schools, markets, bus stations, churches and neighbourhoods across the country.

“The vaccine is safe and effective to protect children from the disabling and potentially deadly polio hence we encourage all parents and caregivers to ensure their children – one-year-nine months to four years of age are vaccinated during the exercise.”

By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri