Hello here! Welcome back to my blog! Perhaps it should rather be you welcoming me back to my blog since I have been MIA for so long. lol. Until I started blogging, I didn’t know it could be this hard! I mean, there is sometimes so much to do such that prioritizing what you love to do becomes difficult. But we’re here today.
I am sure many of us have seen or heard adverts on the upcoming polio immunization schedule. Several people keep asking me questions about it so today, I will address some of these questions and generally give more insight on the National Immunization Schedule. To have some background insight on polio infection, kindly read my previous article https://hectoriaawekeya.com/disabled-for-life/
Thanks be to God; Ghana has not recorded any cases of wild polio viruses in a long while. However, we are saddled now with the Circulating Vaccine Derived Polio Viruses (cVDP) and there is an effective plan in place to kick it out just as we did for wild polio viruses.
There is a 4-pronged approach to ensure we stay on top of polio infection;
- Strong Routine Immunization. We entreat that every child born in Ghana or living in Ghana be vaccinated at birth, 6 weeks and 14 weeks of life.
- Supplementary immunization activities such as National Immunization Days.
- Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) surveillance. This means we must report every incident of sudden onset of paralysis in children under 15 years and adults.
- “Mop-up” immunization campaigns. These are conducted after national immunization days if targets are not met.
What is polio outbreak?
An outbreak of a disease is an increase in the number of cases of that disease above what is normally expected. Due to the extensive work that has been done as far as polio immunization is concerned, we do not expect to have cases. Thus, if we have even a single case, we say there is an outbreak.
Why are we having a polio campaign currently?
Polio campaign is necessitated when there is an outbreak of polio in the country or locality. If it is just one part of the country, the campaign is usually limited to that part of the country (sub national immunization days) but if it in multiple parts of the country, it is important to have a country wide campaign(national immunization days). To break the chain of transmission of any type of polio, effective two to three rounds of polio vaccines given 4 weeks apart have been shown to be efficient.
What is the difference between what we giving now and what is routinely given?
For routine immunization, polio vaccines are given at birth, 6 weeks and 14 weeks. This vaccine contains two components against wild Polio viruses Type 1 and Type 3, thus it is called Bivalent Oral Polio Vaccine (bOPV).
For the campaign currently ongoing, it is Novel Oral Polio Vaccine, nOPV targeting the cVDP.
Should children necessarily take this vaccine?
Yes. Polio outbreaks occur when the general immune status of the population (herd immunity) goes down. Herd immunity occurs when a large proportion of people are protected through vaccination. It goes down when more and more children are not vaccinated at all or have incomplete immunization schedules schedules. The closer we get to 100% vaccination the better for every child. If your child missed the first dose, do not worry, just take subsequent ones.
Adverse Events Following Immunization
If you or your child take any vaccine and have any untoward symptoms, remember to report to the nearest health facility. It helps the system to improve vaccines in terms of safety.
Let me conclude with the words of the Program Manager for Expanded Program on Immunization of Ghana, Dr. Kwame Amponsa-Achiano that “If a population is fully immunized, it will be protected against both wild and circulating polio viruses”.
Until I come your way again soon, help us reach every child under five in the next round of polio campaign.