The government of the northern Nigerian state of Kano on Wednes-day again rejected the oral polio vaccine promoted by UN health agencies, a spokesman said, despite a decision by the country's federal administration to throw its weight behind a UN inoculation drive.
A spokesman for Kano, the region at the heart of the world's fastest growing outbreak of the crippling polio virus, said that the state's governor and traditional Islamic leader had met with local experts to review evidence gathered about the UN vaccine and concluded once again that it was laced with anti-fertility agents.
"All the results studied proved contamination of the vaccine, therefore all the stakeholders agreed with the government not to allow polio vaccination in Kano until we can procure uncontaminated vaccines for our people," spokesman Sule Ya'u Sule told reporters.
"The state has decided to opt out of the National Program of Immunization controlled polio vaccination program," he said, referring to a drive, backed by both international agencies and Nigeria's federal government, to inoculate millions of Nigerian children by the end of the year.
Instead, Sule said, Kano was seeking out an independent source of the vaccine in Asia, and would make its own arrangements to restart immunization.
"As we've been saying, we are not against polio vaccination ... but what we re saying is that the drugs given to us are adulterated, and we will not use these drugs just to please somebody," he said.
"We've been in contact with some Asian countries to source drugs that are free from contamination. We have arrived at certain decisions which we will not now discuss for technical reasons, however, and we will do the polio vaccination at our own pace as soon as we have sourced the vaccine," he said.
An expert panel set up by the federal government to test samples of the UN World Health Organization's polio vaccine has pronounced it safe, clearing the way for a resumption of the emergency inoculation drive, officials said.
The panel was briefing President Olusegun Obasanjo on the results of its tests, which were carried out after radical Muslim leaders said Western agents had contaminated the vaccine in a bid to render Muslim girls infertile.
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