PESHAWAR: The Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) Cell has rescheduled the first phase of extensive outreach vaccinations drive due to recent propaganda against polio drops which the officials believe has damaged ongoing polio campaign in the province and merged districts.

The decision to reschedule the extensive outreach vaccination programme in tribal districts was taken in a meeting held here with Programme Manager Dr Sahibzada M Khalid and humanitarian partners were presented. The decision was taken due to fear that the prevailing public sentiments against vaccinations drives may jeopardize the first phase of the programme that was previously scheduled to start on April 26, for which all arrangements have already been finalized.

During the meeting, It was decided that apart from areas with the EPI centres, the hard-to-access far-flung areas with no EPI centres would be accessed during the programme.

The 12 days an extensive outreach vaccination programme shall be conducted in the catchment areas of EPI centres and far-flung areas will be covered thereafter for five (05) days (dates for the areas of No EPI centres will be communicated later). It was also decided that stock of all vaccines will be evaluated/calculated and in case of any shortage, the vaccines could be collected from stores of tribal areas directorate. The store will also be opened on Saturday for collection of vaccines.

Some six thousand children were rushed to hospitals in Peshawar after they were provided polio drops. The issues were first reported from a private school in Mashu Khel area of the city, where the school owner was convinced to provided polio drops to children after ten years. He has rushed 50 students to Hayatabad Medical Complex after which parents got panicked and started taken their children to hospitals. Doctors said that all the children are stable and healthy. Government officials believes that it was propaganda against polio drop arrested nine people involved in setting fire to a hospital in Mashu Khel.

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