Parents wary of polio vaccine in some places

Madurai Bureau

DINDIGUL: Over two lakh children in the age group of 0-5 years in Dindigul district and more than one lakh children in Theni district were immunised in the second phase of the Pulse Polio programme on Sunday, according to health officials.

Despite an intense campaign on safety and quality of polio drops and stern warning to rumour mongers, response from parents, particularly mothers, was very poor in the second phase of the programme.

Women waited in serpentine queues to administer polio drops to their children in the first phase. Such a response was absent at several centres in the town on Sunday. The situation at many villages was even worse. Parents waiting with babies at Batlagundu bus stand hurriedly informed volunteers that drops had been already given to their children.

But health officials took extra care in the second phase since the first phase was disrupted following one or two incidents of death in the western parts of the State. All centres were kept clean and tidy. Mosquito repellent was sprayed on both sides of road leading to the centres. Stagnating water near the polio centres was removed.

But health volunteers met women at marriage halls and administered polio to their children.

Twenty-five mobile units were mobilised to cover remote and inaccessible areas on the hills and para-medical teams and field staff reached the hilly areas well in advance to immunise children. Special centres were set up at railway stations, bus stands, markets and other places to cover people on the move.

Immunisation was carried out at government hospitals, six private hospitals, schools, noon meal centres, sub-centres and primary health centres. A total of 1,232 centres — 1,131 in rural areas and 101 in urban areas — had been set up.


Over one lakh children were immunised in Theni district at 786 centres manned by over 3,000 field staff, including officials from various departments and volunteers from non-governmental organisations. Enthusiasm among people was missing this time. Some centres did not receive even five children in an hour.


A little over 1.82 lakh children were administered polio drops through 1,067 centres in the district.

According to an official press release, Collector K. Raghupathi inaugurated the programme by administering polio drops to children at the government hospital. Elaborate arrangements were made in Sattur, Sivakasi and other towns. The polio drops were administered to children travelling by buses and trains.


Though the response was poor in the initial hours, it gained momentum after 11 a.m. in Ramanathapuram district. As the day progressed, several booths witnessed a steady increase in arrival of parents with their babies. Some parents, who showed hesitation in the morning, visited the booths after ensuring that there was no problem with children who were administered the vaccine in the first hour.

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