The Ghana Health Service (GHS) in the Upper East Region is scheduled to administer the Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) to a total of about 96,799 children aged between 21 months and 48 months across the Region.
At a press briefing in Bolgatanga the Regional capital, Dr Winfred Ofosu, the Upper East Regional Director of the GHS, said the initiative by the Service was part of the response activities taken due to the recent outbreak of polio in the country.
The nationwide catch-up vaccination, which is in collaboration with the GHS international and local partners, is expected to commence from February 19 to February 25 this year after a successful first and second rounds of vaccinations took place in September and October last year.
The catch-up campaign is under the theme: “IPV prevents all polio diseases; get your child vaccinated for good life.”
Dr Ofosu said a total of 142 teams made up of health professionals and volunteers would be positioned at outreach points, schools, markets and other vantage areas to administer the polio vaccine.
“We wish to assure all caregivers and the general public that all our vaccines are safe and have over the years reduced vaccine preventable diseases and deaths in the Upper East Region and the country as a whole.”
He encouraged members of the public to report any child less than 15 years who develops sudden paralysis to the nearest health centre within 24 hours.
Touching on the dosage and route of administration of the vaccine, the Director said all eligible children would be given 0.5mls IPV via intramuscular injection on the right shoulder, and urged caregivers with eligible children to make sure their children were vaccinated within the stipulated period.
He explained that poliomyelitis or polio was a highly infectious viral disease which affected mainly young children and was transmitted from the faecal-oral route from contaminated water or food.
He said the virus multiplied in the intestine, where it invades the nervous system and cause paralysis and even death in some cases. “The weakness most often involves the limbs but may rarely affect the muscles of the head, neck and diaphragm.”
Dr Ofosu further explained that “The rationale for the selection of this particular age group is that Ghana switched from Trivalent Oral Polio Vaccine (TOPV) to Bivalent Oral Polio Vaccine (BOPV) in April 2016.
Inactivated Polio Vaccine should have been introduced immediately after the switch in 2016”.
He indicated that due to global shortage of IPV vaccines, it was introduced almost two years later in June 2018, and said children who were born between April 2016 when the switch took place and June 2018 when IPV was introduced, had no protection against type 2 polio virus in Ghana and were vulnerable to infection.