Islamabad: Millions of infants in Pakistan will miss anti-tuberculosis immunization due to a countrywide shortage of Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine that protects them from tuberculosis.
The situation is more acute in Punjab province as the federal Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) did not provide BCG vaccine to the province for the month of February, Dawn Online reported Tuesday.
Under-five children form 15.2 percent of the population in Punjab, one of the most populous provinces of the country.
The federal EPI has categorically conveyed to the provinces that it has not yet received this particular vaccine from Unicef primarily due to its unavailability in the global market.
It is for the first time that infants have been denied BCG vaccine from February 1.
According to official figures, over five million children are born every year in Pakistan.
This vaccine is on the World Health Organisation`s (WHO) list of essential medicines, being the most important medication needed in a basic healthcare system.
Unicef has expressed its inability to ensure the supply of this vaccine to the federal government before April 2015 as its manufacturing had come down globally.