KUWAIT CITY, Feb 8, (KUNA): The Ministry of Health has defended the nationwide Oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) and the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination campaign, and dismissed rumors about the safety of used vaccines.
The vaccination is crucial for the health of the society and Kuwait is the last Gulf country to launch a nationwide vaccination campaign, MoH Assistant Undersecretary for Public Health Dr Majeda Al-Qattan said in a joint press conference with several ministry officials to discuss the importance of the vaccination campaign and debunk rumors and inaccurate reports about it.
She added that vaccination has helped keep Kuwait free of dangerous epidemic diseases such as polio for decades. Al-Qattan assured that the used OPV and MMR vaccines are safe and had been thoroughly examined and inspected. The vaccines do not contain any dangerous additive substances such as mercury, she affirmed. She pointed out that the ministry has secured more than one million doses of OPV and MMR vaccines for children and youth in the age category of six months to 19 years old.
Al-Qattan reiterated the ministry’s keenness to involve individuals in society in the campaigns against polio, measles and mumps. For his part, Head of the epidemic disease unit at the ministry Dr Mosab Al-Saleh noted that the additional doses are important due to the growing number of mumps infection among males who failed to get the vaccines in their early age.
The World Health Organization, its regional Executive office and the Gulf Cooperation Council states issued a resolution in 2014 urging Gulf countries to organize nationwide campaigns to additionally vaccinate children and youth against these epidemic diseases regardless of the previous vaccinations given to them, he added. He also clarified that this resolution had also endorsed offering a third dose of the vaccines as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had laid it bare that a third dose of vaccines does not represent any threat to health. Al-Saleh described the technical procedures and examination before approving purchase of any vaccine as long and complicated. Vaccines’ safety for use are thoroughly studied by specialists from different departments, he said. He added that the vaccines used in the campaign do not contain dangerous preservatives such as mercury or thimerosal or any substance that causes autism.
Moreover, the used vaccines are approved and registered at the US Food and Drug Administration, Europe and the unified Gulf drug purchasing system and Kuwait, he stressed.
Meanwhile, head of a committee tasked with eradication of polio disease Dr Fahad Al-Enezi argued that polio vaccination is significantly important as the disease has re-emerged in regional countries such as Iraq and Syria.
The World Health Organization has asked Kuwait to vaccinate children due to the threat imposed by the spread of the polio virus in other near countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan, he said.