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Immunity gap in children cause of CMPV2 outbreak in Nigeria – Health Commissioner

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…As Anambra Govt Set To Start Oral Polio Vaccination Jan. 29

By Gabriel Chy Alonta

Anambra State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Vincent Okpala, has linked the recent cases of Circulating Mutant Poliovirus type2 (CMPV2) to immunity gaps in children.

He said the only way to protect children is to give them two drops of the oral polio vaccine during routine immunization and supplementary polio immunization days.

Orient Daily gathered that Nigeria had officially reported 395 cases of the Circulating Mutant Poliovirus type2 across 27 states and the Federal Capital Territory, a development Dr. Okpala said proactive measures must be taken to stem the tide.

Okpala made this known to newsmen in his office in Awka, during a press conference on National Immunization Plus Days (NIPDs), held on Tuesday.

He also said that the state is set to commence zero polio campaign to interrupt the circulation, remarking that children would receive 2 drops of potent Oral Polio Vaccine. He said the implementation date will be from Saturday January 29 to Tuesday February 1, 2022.

The commissioner said children between 0-59 months (under 5 years) were eligible for the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) irrespective of previous immunization status. He said other antigens will be given according to schedule and status, while disclosing that the state had two nopv2 outbreak responses in 2021. He said the state government is fully committed to the programme and will make sure that no child is left out in the exercise.

According to him, the suspension of immunization programs due to COVID-19 pandemic had further created new immunity gaps in children due to several reasons, including low routine immunization coverage and missing children during immunization campaigns which had led to new and wider outbreaks and further increased transmission of the Circulating Mutant Poliovirus both globally and within Nigeria.

“These have allowed the virus to be easily transmitted from one person to another through contaminated water and poor sewage disposal. Malnutrition occasioned by increasing poverty is also a predisposing factor in exposed children”. 

He thanked the donors and development partners for assisting Nigeria in acquiring new tools to ensure that the outbreak is contained using the novel oral polio vaccine, which, according to him, has been shown to be effective in halting the spread of the CMPV2.

In a remark, the Executive  Secretary of Anambra State Primary HealthCare Development Agency, Dr. Chioma Ezenyimulu, called on parents, caregivers, traditional leaders, religious leaders, and all community members to support every eligible child in their community to be vaccinated against Polio, and ensure they complete their routine vaccination. She said parents/caregivers should always endeavour to take along the child’s health card for any immunization visit.

Mr. Obioha Agbakwuru, the state coordinator, National Primary HealthCare Development Agency, had, in a remark, thanked the commissioner and other state team for their commitment and doggedness in maintaining polio-free state, while stressing the need to replicate same achievement at the local government level. He promised continued support to various state health interventions.

Earlier, the Cluster Consultant, World Health Organization (WHO), Uju Orjiagu, urged that every child take the immunization vaccination seriously, assuring that the partners were ready to vaccinate children in all the 21 local government areas of the state.

This paper reports that Poliomyelitis (Polio) is a highly infectious disease caused by the Poliovirus, a virus which affects mostly children. It has no cure, causes lifelong paralysis in children, and in some cases, it can cause death. In August 2020, Nigeria was certified Wild Poliovirus free by the world health organization and its allies as the country reported its last case of the disease in 2016.

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