Nigerian children contract polio after vaccine

Sixty-nine children in northern Nigeria contracted polio following a vaccination against the disease, a World Health Organisation (WHO) official in Nigeria said on Thursday.

”They were vulnerable [to this type of virus against] which they hadn’t been vaccinated enough. These are extremely rare cases, however,” WHO representative Peter Eriki said.

He ruled out that the virus could have come from contamination of the vaccine. In rare cases, the virus in the vaccine can mutate into a form that can paralyse, according to the WHO.

”This is a sign that we must vaccinate more people,” Eriki said, indicating that about 10% of the Nigerian population has dodged the vaccination campaign.

”Those who are vaccinated are completely protected. The better thing to do is to ensure that all children are vaccinated,” he added.

The vaccination campaigns launched by the United Nations and the Nigerian government came up against resistance from Muslim chiefs in the northern part of the country in 2003. Some argued that the polio vaccination was part of a plot hatched by the United States to sterilise Muslims. — Sapa-AFP

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