Typhoid Conjugate vaccination drive concludes

ISLAMABAD:The second phase of vaccination against Typhoid in 12 districts of Punjab and the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) concluded on Saturday.

The drive was started under the leadership of Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination. The campaign has achieved the set target of vaccinating 13 million children between the ages of nine months to 15 years.

The Government of Pakistan had engaged 6,975 skilled and trained vaccinators along with 6,975 assistants who have safely immunized the children during the campaign. Additionally, a total of 13,950 social mobilisers visited the households to mobilize parents and caregivers for bringing their children to the vaccination sites.

The campaign ran smoothly throughout the 15 days. During the campaign the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) and Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme (PEI) have synergized immunization efforts across the country and also immunized 4.3 million children under the age of 5 with polio drops.

This campaign signifies another remarkable achievement of the EPI-PEI teams integrating and effectively utilizing available resources to strengthen the immunization efforts across the country.

“We are glad that we have achieved the set target so far,” Dr. Faisal Sultan, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Health Services, said. The number of Typhoid cases registered in the country and the emergence of extensively drug-resistant Typhoid is an alarming situation, he added.

“It can however be controlled through TCV which is a one-dose vaccine, injected intramuscularly, at a lower cost,” he added.

He said, the typhoid conjugate vaccine is the new vaccine and we are one of those luckiest nations who have introduced this vaccine in the country to combat the deadly disease of Typhoid and to provide better immunity to our children between the ages of 9 months to 15 years.

The campaign resulted in vaccinating large number of children in Islamabad and in the Punjab. “We highly appreciate the efforts of the health workers, vaccinators and the parents for all the support and cooperation in achieving the set target of the campaign,” says Dr. Palitha Mahipala, World Health Organization Representative in Pakistan.

The successful completion of the campaign portrays the community acceptance toward the vaccine and the parents concern to protect the children against the deadliest disease. “We are glad that the set target has been achieved and our efforts have borne fruit in combatting the extensively drug resistant (XDR) Typhoid,” says Aida Grima, UNICEF Representative in Pakistan.

She said “we are fully committed to protect each and every child against vaccine preventable diseases.”

The launch of the TCV campaign is crucial as the number of Typhoid cases registered in the country and the emergence of extensively drug-resistant Typhoid is an alarming situation, says Akram Shah, National Program Manager, EPI.

He said, that the success of the campaign depends on the untiring efforts of all the stakeholders. “We fully appreciate the support of partner organization for successful run of the campaign. The second round of the TCV catch-up campaign for remaining districts of Punjab will be scheduled in May 2021.”

Dr Akram Shah appreciated the role of national and provincial field teams and he stated that, “the joint efforts as taken by EPI and PEI are paving a way forward to achieve the optimal and long lasting gains of the polio and typhoid, resulting into the enhanced immunity of the children against polio and other vaccine-preventable diseases.” He also added that EPI will keep replicating similar type of interventions in collaboration with polio eradication initiative.

The campaign is concluded by achieving the target. “We highly appreciate all of our health workers and vaccinators who worked hard during the campaign days for achieving the set target,” said, Rana Muhammad Safdar, Director General Health Islamabad.

“We are thankful to the communities for showing up the vigor for the TCV campaign and brining children to the nearby EPI health centers or the fix sites for the vaccination.” He said that the synergy and integration of both polio and routine immunization activities is critical during the pandemic as children continue to face gaps in their immunity levels making them susceptible to diseases.

“All children should benefit from available vaccines as they are safe and effective,” shared Dr Rana Muhammad Safdar, the National Emergency Operation Centre Coordinator and Director General Health.