PESHAWAR - The Inquiry Committee constituted by Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Health Department to probe the deaths of 3 children in Shaheen Muslim Town of the provincial metropolis last week concluded that none of the deaths had any link to polio vaccination and that polio vaccines used in the campaign were not expired.

According to a Press release issued by KP Health Department, polio vaccine was the safest vaccine which did not cause deaths; requesting parents not to pay heed to false rumours and help the government to stamp out the crippling disease from the region by ensuring polio vaccination to their children in every campaign.

The release stated that the 7-member Inquiry Committee which included paediatricians, administration, health office staff and representative of district government collected evidences from the field teams including records of vaccination, records of the hospitals where children were treated and statement of doctors and parents of the deceased children.

It said that 2 of the children never received any IPV dose from April 23 to April 30.

It further clarified that one of the victim child Muzamil, son of Farhad had never been administered any kind of polio and he died of measles; the second child Alyan, son of Suleman had only one OPV dose and no IPV and his cause of death was related to gastroenteritis while third child, Shahram, son of Irfan Khan had an IPV shot and died two days later at home.

Father of the deceased Shahram appeared before the Committee to record his statement and expressed complete satisfaction in the Inquiry Committee throughout the process.

The Committee unanimously found all vaccine vials fully useable as the expiry on all the used vials in the area read Feb 2020.

However, to satisfy the parents and community elders, the Inquiry Committee has requested to send the used vaccine vials for testing to Pakistan Drug Regulatory Authority.

Likewise, in pursuance of the recommendations of the Committee, health teams will hold a survey in these Union Councils to find out any side effect of the vaccine and will also undertake communications and technical training of the field staff.

The release said that other children were also vaccinated with the same IPV vial without any adverse effects whereas more than 2,781 children were vaccinated with IPV in the same Union Council where these incidents happened since the start of the campaign on April 23.

A total number of 186,459 children in Peshawar received vaccination during the campaign without any side effects, once again authenticating safety of the vaccine.

The fact-finding report of the Investigation Committee re-emphasises that polio vaccine was the safest vaccine ever developed and over 15 billion doses of OPV and 11 million IPV had been administered to the children in Pakistan and no reaction among any of the children across the country was reported.

Department of Health sympathised with all the parents for their precious losses and condoled with the bereaved families.

The OPV, administered multiple times, protects a child from the lifelong and debilitating effects of polio.

Large-scale administration of OPV across Pakistan has reduced incidence of polio from 306 cases in 2014 in the country to 8 cases in just a handful of districts in 2017 with only one reported case so far in 2018 from Dukki, Balochistan.