KARACHI – Despite fatal outbreak of measles in various districts of Sindh, Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) vaccines have been disappeared from the market which raised questions over the government’s performance regarding drug regulatory authority, The Nation has learnt here. An official, on condition of anonymity, said that some private companies trying to create artificial shortage of vaccines in the private market which was a matter of concern for all the stakeholders.The provincial government has completely failed to control the rapid spread of measles in the interior while affected children in various areas, including Tehsil Salhpat of Sukkur, Rohri, Pannu Aqil are being shifted to hospitals. The anti-measles campaign, carried out by Sindh Health Department, is underway in some districts of the province, including Jaccobabad, Shikarpur, Tangwani, Thal and Kandhkot. The MMR vaccines are not prepared in the country while these are imported from abroad by three private companies. These vaccines are only available in the public health facilities while there are also some reports of shortage in the public health facilities.It is pertinent to mention here that more than 200 children died of measles in various districts of Sindh while in December 2012 alone more than 93 children lost their lives.Following the incidents of deaths due to measles, the experts showed their serious concerns over the shortage of this important vaccine in the market, and said that the MMR vaccine was an immunisation shot against measles, mumps and rubella. The vaccine is a mixture of three live attenuated viruses, administered via injection.Talking about shortage of the vaccines, Pakistan Pediatric Association President Prof Dr Iqbal Memon said that MMR vaccines were not available in the markets right now while these vaccines are available in the public hospitals. He said that some public hospitals in some districts of the province were in short of vaccines but this shortage prevails only for one or two days. It is pertinent to mention here that the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends a two-dose vaccine schedule for measles, mumps, rubella and varicella vaccines for children, with the first dose at age 12-15 months and the second at age 4-6 years. ASEEFA BHUTTO ADMINISTERS POLIO DROPS: The district government has completed the postponed anti-polio campaign in the remaining districts of the metropolis, including central and south district. Pakistan’s ambassador for polio eradication Aseefa Bhutto Zardari inaugurated the anti-polio drive at Ibrahim Ali Bhai School in Gizri here on Tuesday by administering anti-polio drops to children. Sindh Assembly Deputy Speaker Shehla Raza, Commissioner Karachi Hashim Raza Zaidi, MNA Nafisa Shah and Adviser to the Prime Minister Shahnaz Wazir Ali were also present on the occasion. Asifa Bhutto also distributed gifts among the children. Speaking on the occasion, Begum Wazir Ali said that the country need to be polio free, while the provincial governments of all the four provinces are required to work jointly on this front. She praised the performance of the district of the metropolis in term of making the largest city of Pakistan polio free for the last few months. Shahnaz Wazir informed the participants that during the anti-polio drive 34 million children under five years of age will be given polio drops. The postponed ant i-polio campaign once again kicked off in the metropolis amid strict security provided by police and Rangers on Monday. Not a single incident was reported during the whole campaign. It is pertinent to mention here that last month Sindh Health Minister Dr Sagheer Ahmed had suspended the three-day Anti-Polio Eradication Campaign (December 17-19, 2012) in the whole province due to the killing of polio vaccinators. As many as five polio vaccinators, including four women in the metropolis were killed by extremists.