Infant Immunization in Pakistan

(Samrah Imran, Karachi)

With the World Immunization Week ending, I've come across a lot of Covid-19 vaccination campaigns been running. Howbeit, there is one more radical concern that needs to be addressed as it has been rooted long enough in Pakistan.

Presently, the neonatal mortality rate in Pakistan is 45% per 1000 births while those, under five, are dying at a rate of 75% per 1000 children. These stats are horrendous to even look at. If we consider infant mortality, around 14% of children die from pneumonia, 25% from measles and tetanus, and other vaccine-preventable diseases. Into the bargain, Pakistan is also one the second countries that is still trapped in a viral endemic of polio, with 147 cases alone in 2019.

Now the question lies, why we're still unable to reduce these escalating figures.

There is no denying that some things are not in our hands but still, a lot of these deaths could have been avoided with interventions like infant immunization, a process by which the child's immune system becomes fortified against any preventable disease.

To boot, certain programmes are providing immunization entirely free of cost. For instance, Expanded Program on Immunization is a lead authority in Pakistan for immunization whereby children aging from 0 to 15 months get immuned on vaccine-preventable diseases, costlessly.

But since we're living in a society where the socio-cultural taboos dominate, these vaccines are often rejected by the cynicality of the masses. Social media is filled with a whole bunch of assumptions where people cancel the vaccines for one reason or other.

In closing, It is the virtue of awareness that Pakistani society lacks. Therefore, we cannot always blame the government for every social unrest. Every informed citizen shall hold up the responsibility of spreading awareness about such unrest and their expedient measures.

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