Children’s death in FATA not related to vaccination – Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq


28 December, 2016 - Prime Minister’s Focal Person for Polio Eradication Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq shared Wednesday that according to the investigation details available till date, including findings of forensic analysis, there was no reason to link deaths of children reported in FATA to the vaccination. ‘No evidence of any link to vaccination has been found after a detailed forensic analysis of blood samples of children who were admitted to Hayatabad Medical Complex’ she said sharing details of the findings. The report was issued by Department of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology, Khyber Pukhtunkhwa Medical College, Peshawar on 27th December, 2016.   


Prime Minister’s Focal Person immediately after receiving report of death of children, asked FATA authorities for a thorough investigations to be carried out as there were some rumors circulating about possible linkage with vaccination. An investigation team comprising of senior experts has accordingly been tasked to come up with detailed report indicating the cause of death as soon as possible.


Although there is neither any scientific basis nor any history of an  incident in Pakistan or globally linking polio vaccination to death of any child, forensic investigation was ordered to allay concerns being expressed by some based on incorrect information, she said. Factually, a total of more than 10 billion doses of Oral Polio Vaccine have been administered to over 2.5 billion children across the world without a single such incident, she reiterated.


The unfortunate minors who reported to have died on December 21 had other medical issues but without waiting for report of formal investigations, a few local papers started linking it with vaccination. The children admitted to Hayatabad Medical Complex were discharged the very next day and at least half of them were asymptomatic and just brought because of fear created by the unfortunate rumors. All such children are now in their respective homes in healthy condition.


Polio vaccines are the safest vaccines used all over the world to eradicate polio. Because of the oral polio vaccine, 15 million people are walking today who would otherwise have been paralyzed, she said. She further added that approximately 37 million children are administered polio drops during a single national campaign in Pakistan and there has never been a link of any illness or death because of the vaccine.


I want to assure parents that Polio Vaccine is a WHO certified vaccine which has been and is used all over the world to eradicate polio, Senator Ayesha said.  


It is necessary to give two drops of the Oral polio vaccine to every child under 5 years of age in every campaign. This is the only way we can eradicate polio from Pakistan and the world so that no child has to suffer the scourge of disability because of a vaccine preventable virus, she said.  


She said that while being so close to virus interruption, it is in our national interest to create an environment that encourages vaccination. The vaccine continues to protect our children from lifelong disability and is also a mandatory requirement for travel outside Pakistan for every person including those performing Hajj or Umrah, she said