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Parents urged to take their children for polio vaccine

May 12, 2021

By Elizabeth A. Kaine

In the wake of the commencement of the polio vaccination later this week, Communication Pillar Lead at National Corona Virus Emergency Centre (NaCOVERC), who also doubles as Head of Public Education Unit, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Harold Thomas, has called on parents to feel free to let their children be vaccinated with the polio vaccine.

Thomas was speaking during an orientation of media practitioners about the polio vaccination campaign on Monday, April 10th.

He noted that there is an outbreak of polio in Sierra Leone and that it threatens the health and lives of children under the age of five, who are at a greatest risk of contracting the virus.

He emphasised that parent should not be afraid to let their kids be vaccinated with the polio vaccine, adding that they shouldn’t misunderstood Polio vaccine to be covid-19 vaccine.

‘’Polio is a dangerous and infectious disease caused by poliovirus and can cause life-long paralysis and even death .It has no cure, but can be prevented only through vaccination with multiple doses of polio vaccines. This is the reason why all parent should allow their children to take this vaccine,’’ he encourage.  

He noted that in reporting polio virus outbreak, journalists should use official source of information to avoid misinformation.

He said polio vaccine has been given to millions of children for many years now and have been proven to be safe and effective.

‘’Our aim is to reach 95 % of caregivers with key messages on the campaign to avoid misinformation and fake rumour about the vaccine, thereby ensuring compliance and up—take of the Marklate as it is free, safe and effective.The  vaccination teams will visit all houses to vaccinate children under 5 years against polio in two rounds (Round 1: 15-18 May & Round 2: 11-14 June 2021),” he noted.

He noted that the virus is very dangerous and can affect every age group, but only kills children under the age of five, thus pleading to all parent, caregivers, and health workers to work together with the ministry throughout the three days vaccination to prevent their children from being paralysed.

Rasford Wright, representative from Sierra Leone Association of Journalists, noted that it is good to capacitate media practitioners with the right knowledge to support awareness raising before, during and even after the campaign, to use their media channels and networks to better educate the public on the benefits, strategy and the risks of polio.

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