Capital lags behind in vaccination coverage: report

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The federal capital is still lagging behind the rest of the country in immunisation coverage, especially in the core urban areas, an independent vaccination coverage assessment for September has revealed.

According to the assessment, out of the 84,627 children examined by surveyors in the target areas, 98 per cent were found to have been vaccinated. A breakdown of the statistics shows that the ink was observed on the hands of 93 per cent of children while the mark had faded on five per cent of surveyed children but their parents claimed that they had been vaccinated.

A province-wise breakdown of the overall assessed coverage found that Gilgit-Baltistan was top with 99.2 percent of coverage with finger marks clear on 91.3 per cent of children.

It was followed by the newly merged tribal districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa with a coverage of 98.8 per cent and fingermark on 95.9 per cent of children.

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) had a coverage of 98.6 percent and fingermark on 94.8 per cent of surveyed children.

Punjab had 98.1 percent coverage and fingermarks on 95.6 percent of surveyed children while Sindh had 97.8 percent and fingermarks on 93.3 percent. It was followed by Balochistan with 97.4 percent coverage of children and finger marks on 89.4. Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) was next with coverage of 97 percent and fingermarks on 88.9 percent of surveyed children.

Last was Islamabad with an average coverage of 95.3 percent of children and fingermarks on 88.4 percent.

Within Islamabad, the coverage percentages varied between areas falling within the control of the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) and the areas of the city which were under the control of the Capital Development Authority (CDA).

The report noted that the performance of CDA in immunisation was still suboptimal to the extent that it was significantly lower than in areas of the ICT.

It further revealed that only 0.2 per cent of assessed children had missed vaccination because of parental refusal across the country.

So far this year, four cases of poliovirus have been reported across the country. Of these, three were reported from Dukki in Balochistan while one was reported from Charsadda in KP. The Charsadda case appears to be dubious because the child had been vaccinated and was apparently resisting the virus, not displaying any of the crippling symptoms associated with the virus despite the fact that his blood had tested positive for it.