Senate may pass compulsory vaccination bill for capital on 28th
ISLAMABAD: The ‘Islamabad Compulsory Vaccination and Protection of Health Workers Bill 2015’, which was passed by the committee concerned last month, may take another week or more to get through the Senate.
The bill is not on the agenda of the Senate on Monday (today), which is the private members’ day. So the earliest possibility is that it may be tabled in the house on December 28.
“Notice has to be given by the mover at least three days before the private members’ day to table a bill. So I am going to submit the notice for December 28 as private bills are taken up only on Mondays,” the mover of the bill, Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq, told Dawn on Sunday.
She expressed the hope that the bill would easily sail through the upper house on December 28 as it was unanimously passed by the standing committee.
“As far as I know, the session will continue for more than a week. I have also started lobbying for the bill. After its passage in the Senate, the bill will be tabled in the National Assembly to become a law.”
She said efforts would also be made to pass the bill from provinces and enforce it all over the country to protect the lives of children.
The draft bill states that immunisation is the right of every child and it is the duty of the state to ensure the services reach every child. Moreover, immunisation has been recognised the world over as the most efficient and cost-effective strategy to control and prevent diseases.
The bill declares the immunisation of children compulsory and protects the health workers designated for the immunisation programmes.
According to the bill, if any person propagates through a written or spoken word against vaccination, intimidates or obstructs a designated medical officer or health worker in the performance of the functions under this Act, they shall be liable to the punishment of imprisonment which may extend to six months or a fine which shall not be less than Rs25,000 or more than Rs100,000.
Children who will not be fit for vaccination due to any disease will have to submit a certificate issued from designated medical officer. Moreover, the name of the disease which renders the child not fit for vaccination has to be mentioned in the certificate. Besides, it has also to be clarified if the child is unfit for vaccination for a certain period of time or throughout his or her life.
After the passage of the bill, it will become the responsibility of parents or guardians to complete the primary vaccination before the child attains the age of six months. Public health workers will not charge any fee for administering vaccine.
Union councils and the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) may not issue a birth certificate if information about vaccination of the child is not available.
At the time of admission to schools or madressahs, the incharge of the institutes will ensure that the child has been vaccinated.
Every health facility will have to mention the record of the vaccination on a monthly basis which can be inspected by health teams.
Everyone will have to facilitate a health worker in performing their functions under the Act. The federal government will make arrangements for the protection and security of the health workers.