No link between vaccination efforts, spread of HIV

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No link between vaccination efforts, spread of HIV

The Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Society of Pakistan (MMIDSP) representing Infectious Diseases and immunization experts, has categorically and unequivocally denied any connection between vaccination efforts and the spread of HIV in Pakistan.

Prof. Bushra Jamil, the MMIDSP President and Dean, Infectious Diseases, College of Physicians & Surgeons Pakistan (CPSP) took strong exception to a recently published report about any possible co-relation between ongoing immunization program in the country and recent outbreak of HIV among children in Ratodero, Larkana.

The senior researcher emphasised that the current immunization programmes offer safe oral and injectable vaccines against ten infections including polio which if and whenever denied to the kids hold devastating consequences for them. It is therefore extremely important to ensure that each and every eligible child benefits from protection provided by the vaccines.

Reiterating that media, as an important stakeholder, must ensure that misreporting does not take place and efforts to eradicate polio and other infections are not harmed, she reminded that Pakistan still holds one of the highest burden of vaccine-preventable infectious illnesses. Vaccination is one of the most successful strategies that has resulted in control of such infections in the world.

She appreciated that Pakistan’s Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) including the Supplementary Immunization Activities (SIAs) of Polio and Measles vaccines aims to replicate this success. The overarching objectives are to protect our children from disability and death while making sure that Pakistan is not forced into international isolation,” said the MMIDSP President.

To a query she expressed her confidence that quality procedures in accordance with World Health Organization standards in vaccine storage, transportation and administration is being maintained.

This is to ensure that there is no link to harmful events or spread of infections like hepatitis or HIV. Mentioning that vaccination has resulted in the control of the Hepatitis B spread in Pakistan, it was imperative that through EPI and SIAs, adequate protection is established to prevent outbreaks of these infections among the people pertaining to different age groups, particularly children.