KARACHI: The Pakistan Pediatric Association urged parents to take their children to the nearest EPI centers for essential routine vaccination. These centers are open throughout the country, even during the lockdown.
World Immunization Week is celebrated across the globe from 24th to 30th April. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, essential immunizations have taken the back seat. Everyone must remember that even during the COVID-19 pandemic, no one should forget essential immunizations that are responsible for saving the lives of millions of children across the world from nine vaccine-preventable diseases. Essential immunizations include diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, hepatitis B, HIV, polio, rotavirus, and pneumococcal vaccines administered at 6, 10, and 14 weeks of age, respectively. Two doses of measles vaccine are also given at 9 and 15 months of age.
These vaccination are provided free of cost, although the estimated cost for one child’s immunizations sums up to approximately Rs30,000, which is paid by the government and international donors. Fortunately, less than 5% of children have tested positive for COVID-19, and most of them are asymptomatic.
Even in asymptomatic COVID-19 positive children, essential routine vaccinations should not be delayed.
The PPA also urged the government to make the EPI vaccination centre feasible by provided all necessary preventive measures so that children under two years of age can have easy and safe access to the immunization centers.
This will prevent the incidence of vaccine-preventable diseases that have much higher rates of death and complications in children as compared to coronavirus.