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Extra dose

Mere Naleba
Friday, August 08, 2014

TROOPS returning home after serving in the Golan Heights and Iraq should receive the extra dose of oral polio vaccine or inactivated polio vaccine as per World Health Organisation recommendations, says WHO's technical officer for expanded immunisation program Dr Jaya Prakash.

He said Fiji had high immunisation coverage against polio — 95 per cent — which was the result of an immunisation coverage survey conducted last year.

"This high immunisation coverage provides the best defence against polio virus importation," Dr Prakash said.

"The Fiji Ministry of Health is already working on the measures to be taken in Fiji, especially concerning the personnel being deployed and returning from Golan Heights.

"Fiji has a very strong surveillance system for acute flaccid paralysis to rule out polio."

Dr Prakash said long term visitors and persons from Fiji residing in polio-infected countries or areas should receive a dose of oral vaccine (OPV) or injectable polio vaccine (IPV) four weeks to 12 months before international travel.

"For those who are undertaking urgent travel that is within four weeks, should be encouraged to receive a dose at least by the time of departure."

He said Syria's most recent case "had onset of paralysis on January 21 this year".

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