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No polio vaccines at KZN hospital

Durban - A KwaZulu-Natal hospital has been without the polio vaccine since the middle of April, the Democratic Alliance said on Tuesday.

The DA's health spokesman Dr Imran Keeka said the Newcastle provincial hospital had run out of the orally administered polio vaccine in mid-April.

A child receives polio drops during a polio eradication programme in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh. Credit: REUTERS

“This means that all babies born since then did not receive this vital vaccination before being discharged,” he said.

He said he had been told babies were being discharged and their parents were being advised to go to the nearest clinic to get the vaccine.

“Whether parents have done this, whether clinics had the vaccine or whether it was available later at the six-week vaccine schedule, must be investigated urgently,” Keeka said.

“That a vaccine specifically for new babies is not available at the hospital is scandalous.”

He said that during a sitting of the provincial legislature on Tuesday, he had urged provincial health MEC Sibongensi Dhlomo to intervene immediately.

Comment was not immediately available from the health department.

Polio is a crippling and potentially fatal disease that usually strikes children younger than five years and is most often spread through infected water. There is no specific cure, but several vaccines exist.

Sapa

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