LAHORE : Lahore High Court on Thursday called report from the official respondents till July 2, 2012 on a writ petition alleged administering of substandard Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) to children and seeking directions for a judicial inquiry against those responsible for the alleged negligence.
A vaccinator of City District Government Lahore, Muhammad Suleman had moved court, submitting that some residents of Model Town (Extension) refused to cooperate with the vaccinator and refused administering of polio drops to their children during the OPV drive in January. The residents used abusive language against Suleman who then called on the union council officer (UCO). The official reached the spot where he too was rebuked by the said residents. Later, a refusal statement was recorded in the presence of police and the UCO.
The official said that the residents reacted in this way because of the recent disastrous mix-up of medicines at the Punjab Institute of Cardiology that claimed lives of a large number of people. With this incident in mind, the residents claimed that the polio vaccine was fake and damaged. It was also claimed that the government was distributing OPV of stage-2 instead of zero despite having huge funds for this purpose, the counsel said. Suleman tried raising the issue with the officials concerned but they became annoyed and ignored him, he said.
He submitted that zero-stage vaccine must be distributed at union council level in order to get 100 percent results, adding that the OPV of stage-2 was acceptable at distribution level but not at union level. He also said that his client believed that OPV being administered at union council level did not meet the international standards.
The counsel submitted that two department officials visited Model Town but failed to convince the residents for polio vaccination and his client was barred from visiting that area. He added that his client received a suspension letter on March 14, which was issued by the health EDO.
He stated there was no justification for the suspension letter and the petitioner was only being punished for raising this issue in the public. Counsel requested that the suspension letter be set aside and a judicial inquiry be ordered against responsible authorities by declaring that the quality of OPV did not meet the international standards.
He also requested for directions to be issued for submission of complete record of fund received for the OPV programme.
On Thursday, Justice Umer Ata Bandial sought a report on July 2, 2012 from the official respondents, who failed to do so despite issuance of similar direction on previous date of hearing.