24 October 2017

Nigeria: 'Killer Injection' Rumour - 13,502 Children Reject Polio Vaccination in Potiskum

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said 13,502 children have rejected being administered polio vaccine in Potiskum Local Government Area of Yobe State after a rumour of 'killer injection' circulated in Yobe State.

The Cluster Consultant of the Organization, Mister Gitza chew stated this during a flag-off of the immunization programme held at the Palace of Emir of Fika, Alhaji Muhammad Ibn Abali Muhammad Idrissa, in Potiskum.

He said the organization had in June 2017 vaccinated 77,000 children in five of the 10 wards in the local council but the number of immunized children decreased to 62,807 after the rumor of the harmful injection circulated.

"After the unusual injection rumor in three primary schools, many parents rejected the polio vaccine," he said.

He praised the Emir for his quick intervention in dispelling the rumor and helping them to control rejection in the town.

On his part, the Emir, who is also the Chairman, Yobe Council of Chiefs, Dr. Muhammad Ibn Abali Muhammad Idrissa, said the rumor was fabricated by those who wanted to set Yobe back from maintaining its years of a polio-free status in the Northeast.

The report from Yobe State arrived just as our correspondent in Anambra State reported the Rotary Club International as expressing fear that the recent vaccination scare in parts of the country might impede the success story already recorded by the club towards the eradication of polio in Nigeria.

The Chairman of Nigeria National Polio Plus Committee, Dr Tunji Funsho, who raised the alarm at a press conference in Awka, described as unfortunate the coincidence of the scare and Rotary's programme of house-to-house vaccination of children in some parts of the country.

He canvassed an aggressive public enlightenment on the issue, saying anything short of that might lead to the return of polio.

Funso called on parents to ignore the killer vaccine rumour and avail their children for polio immunization and such programmes, assuring that Oral polio vaccine was safe.

"We are making efforts to reach every child, but we know there may be children somewhere we are missing, but we are working to ensure we reach all... Mothers should comply by letting their children be vaccinated," he said.

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