Dr Mercy Owusu-Obrempong, Tema West Municipal Director of Health Services says the Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) being administered by trained health workers through injection to children 21 to 47 months is safe and effective.
She said the IVP is a preventive measure against polio as it strengthens the immune system and provides further protection against polio virus type two.
She therefore called on parents and care givers to ensure that their children within the age group were vaccinated to prevent the debilitating effects of the highly infectious disease which could lead to death.
Dr Owusu-Obrempong was speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Tema when she visited vaccination centres in the company of the Regional Public Health Nurse, Madam Comfort Kwagyir-Aggrey and Municipal Public Health Officer, Mr Isaac Abrefa Busia, Public Health Officer as part of a nationwide IPV campaign.
The exercise which was progressing steadily in all vaccination posts and health centres, also witnessed trained health workers moving from schools to ensure that children within the age range were vaccinated before Tuesday, February 25 when the exercise was expected to end.
The IPV campaign comes in the wake of the Reactive Polio Vaccination administered orally last year which covered a total population of 28,390 out of a targeted population of 27,679 children under five vaccinated in the Municipality representing 102.6 per cent coverage.
According to her, just as the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) was safe and effective during the Reactive Polio Vaccination campaign last year, the IPV was a recommended addition and did not replace it, stating that no serious adverse effects had been reported only minor side effects.
Whiles allaying the fears of parents on the side effects of the vaccine, the Municipal Director of Health Services explained that polio was a highly infectious disease that invaded the nervous system.
Mr Isaac Abrefa Busia, Tema West Municipal Public Health Officer, noted that following an outbreak update of polio in Ghana in July and August last year, which confirmed three events of circulating polio virus type two from the environmental surveillance samples in Tamale and Agbogboloshie in the Greater Accra region, efforts had been stepped up to prevent the disease.
He indicated that out of the over two million children in the country who did not have protection against the polio virus type two, 10,519 children in Tema West were being targeted to boost their immunity against the virus.
Madam Comfort Kwagyir-Aggrey, Greater Accra Regional Public Health Nurse, speaking to the GNA, said, “IPV is safe and provides important additional protection against polio to children.”
She added that health workers were a critical success in the eradication of polio as they had been trained to vaccinate specifically all children born in 2016, 2017, and in the month of January and February of 2018 – children 1 years 9 month to under 4 years.
She admitted that social mobilization had become a challenge in getting parents and caregivers to make their wards available adding that, sensitization efforts had been intensified in that regard.