Dr Mahama Asei Seini, the Deputy Minister of Health, has reassured Ghanaians that the novel Oral Polio Virus Type 2 (nOPV2) vaccine is safe and effective, and urged parents to ensure that children under five are vaccinated against the disease.
He said this was necessary as Polio could not be cured but it could be prevented through vaccination.
Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a disabling and life-threatening disease caused by the poliovirus.
The virus spreads from person to person and can infect a person’s spinal cord, causing paralysis, he said.
Dr Seini Advised dispelled misconceptions on vaccines, saying that the latter over the years had helped in the eradication and prevention of many diseases, including smallpox, yaws among others.
The Deputy Minister gave the assurance at the launch of the 2022 National Immunisation Days against Polio on the theme “Kick Polio Out of Ghana. Vaccinate Your Child Now!”
The need for a vaccination campaign against Polio has become necessary as Ghana and other countries have staring recording cases
For this reason, the four-day- vaccination exercise targeted at over six million children under five years, would be in two rounds, with the first round starting from September 1 st -4th2022, and the second commencing on October 6th -9th 2022 respectively.
This would help stop local transmission of Poliovirus type 2, maintain a high population immunity, strengthen surveillance on Polio disease, and prevent further Polio outbreaks in the country.
He said, so far, approximately 370 million doses of the new vaccine (tool) have been administered across 21 countries the since its launch in March 2021.
As a result, most countries using the vaccine have also managed to stop the transmission of the Circulating Vaccine Derive Polio Virus type 2.
The Deputy Minister explained that the strategy for the Polio vaccination exercise would be mainly house-to-house as well as designated sites to serve the target population.
He thus urged all caregivers to look out for the vaccination teams and ensure that their children were fully vaccinated.
The public is also encouraged to continue to observe improved personal hygiene and good sanitation practices to prevent polio transmission.
Madam Gifty Anti, the National Polio Champion, also pleaded with the Government to improve its funding to help move polio eradication beyond being “business as usual,” and acknowledged the support of Rotary Ghana, other donor agencies and partners, “who are willing to fight this”.
She further encouraged all queen mothers and other traditional leaders to educate their subjects, especially parents on the benefits of the polio vaccine for the health of their children.
We are pleading with our colleagues in the media when you hear about the conspiracy theories, please verify before you publish them or put them on air, so we don’t scare people away from taking the vaccines because we need to tackle this.
We already have cases that are “burying” us in the health sector, we still have Covid with us, malaria and all sorts of diseases and infections and viruses that we have to deal with. We don’t need polio to be with us.