ISLAMABAD: Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid on Monday urged media to support the government in addressing polio refusals and urged religious leaders and all stakeholders to convince parents to vaccinate their children.
In a media talk, Rashid emphasized the need for countering propaganda against the polio vaccine, especially on social media, saying collective efforts were need of the hour to save the new generation from the crippling virus.
The minister urged the nation to actively participate in the ongoing anti-polio drive which would continue from Feb 17 to Feb 21 across the country.
Yasmin Rashid said media could play an important role in polio eradication by raising public awareness about the disease and importance of vaccination to prevent child deaths and disabilities.
“We are facing a challenge to change the anti-polio mindset which is influenced by the negative propaganda of certain anti-state elements,” she said.
“Parents, influenced by the propaganda, refuse to vaccinate their infants that also endangered all the newborn children against this chronic disease”, she added.
Rashid said parent’s refusal is the biggest challenge for us to eradicate polio from its soil. She said the government is striving hard to curb anti-polio campaigns.
The health minister said more than one lack of officials would administer the anti-polio vaccine during the campaign in Punjab.
She said strict security arrangements were made for the safety of polio workers across the province, adding, the drive would be strictly monitored.
Rashid regretted that several refusal cases were reported last year. However, she said efforts were underway to convince parents to administer the anti-polio vaccines.
She urged the parents not to pay any attention to rumors regarding the polio vaccine.
Replying to a question, she said the government is committed to expanding Sehat Insaf Card program to all districts, adding, the process of distributing cards among families in 36 districts of Punjab had been completed as a result free-of-cost treatment facilities would be made available to people of the province.