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Rejection of immunization exposes children, community to disease outbreaks, NPHCDA says

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Abuja – The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), has urged parents to disregard rumours of harmful vaccination spreading across parts of the country.

The agency, through its Executive Director, Dr Faisal Shuaib, said any community where children are denied immunization is exposed to risks. Recall that there has been rejection of children immunization by some parents in parts of the country in the past few days.

In the Southeast and South south, parents had reportedly  rushed to schools recently,  to stop their children from being immunized as rumours of “Monkey pox vaccination” by the military spread.

The nation’s military were only in the region to offer free medical services, and they never offerred immunization to children, Head, Public Relations Unit of NPHCDA, Mr Sa’adu Salahu, told our correspondent in a telephone conversation.

He said the agency’s leadership had been moving across different states in the country to partner with religious, traditional and other leaders of thoughts to make immunization programmes a success in the nation.

He expressed sadness over the rumours, even as he restated health workers’ commitment to ensuring that all children in the country are immunized against killer diseases, with the support of parents and guardians.

In a statement signed by Dr Faisal and made available to Nigeria Health Online earlier, the agency said: ‘The attention of the Federal Government has been drawn to rumours concerning vaccination perceived to be harmful to children. The Federal Government wishes to state clearly that there was no such harmful vaccination that took place or any currently taking place in any part of the country.

“Most importantly, the Federal Government wishes to reassure all parents and guardians of the safety, potency and effectiveness of all vaccines. All vaccines used in Nigeria meet international standards and quality set by the World Health Organization, (WHO), and are further certified by the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC.

“While acknowledging and commending all states, local government areas, the media, civil society, development partners, traditional and religious leaders for their unwavering support and commitment to immunization, the Federal Government appeals to those peddling such unpatriotic, malicious and misleading information to desist from such acts that undermine our trust and faith in the health system.

“The agency said immunization is the most effective public health intervention. The primary benefit of vaccination is that it prevents disease and confers immunity. Vaccination protects the people we care about, it is cost-effective and saves lives.

“Over the last decade, government’s commitment to safeguard the lives of its citizens has seen a significant decline in the incidence of childhood killer diseases. It is important that we do not allow such misinformation reverse the gains recorded.

“Vaccination is not just a person’s choice. Parents who choose not to vaccinate their children expose the entire community to the risk of disease outbreaks. As Nigeria conducts national rounds of polio, yellow fever and measles campaigns, beginning from October 2017, all parents are urged to continue to avail their children of the opportunity to receive the safe vaccines and thereby protect them from vaccine-preventable diseases.”

 

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