First polio vaccination drive of 2021 starts today

A five-day national polio immunisation drive will commence on Monday (today) during which over 40 million children under five years of age will be vaccinated across the country; around 285,000 health workers will go from house to house, observing strict SOPs for Covid-19, in an effort to save children from the crippling disease.

“Our aim is to ensure timely and repeated vaccination of children. This is key to reduce the immunity gap and to protect our children against polio and other diseases,” Dr. Faisal Sultan, the prime minister’s special assistant on health, said as quoted in a statement by the Pakistan Polio Eradication Program (PPEP).

During the immunization drive, a supplementary dose of vitamin A drops will be administered to children aged between six months to five years “help build general immunity among susceptible children to protect them from polio and other diseases,” PPEP said.

“Repeated campaigns are imperative to give a quick immunity boost to children under five,” said Dr Rana Muhammad Safdar, the director-general of health and coordinator of the National Emergency Operations Centre, Polio Eradication Initiative (PEI).

Along with its neighbour Afghanistan, Pakistan is the only country where polio is still endemic after Nigeria was declared free of the virus last year. Last year, 82 polio cases were reported across the country.

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