Over 40 million children received polio vaccination during 2021 anti-polio drive

ISLAMABAD: More than 40 million Pakistani children under the age of five years received vaccination during the latest nationwide anti-polio campaign, the health ministry said on Sunday.

A total of 287,000 frontline polio workers were deployed across the country for door-to-door vaccination, following strict standard operating procedures in the context of Covid-19 pandemic.

Around 32m children were given vitamin A supplements during the campaign.

National Coordinator for the Polio Eradication Initiative and Expanded Programme of Immunisation Dr. Rana Muhammad Safdar said in a statement that the fight against poliovirus was rejuvenated through the delivery of successful polio campaigns last year.

“Thanks to our frontline workers for their dedication and commitment to reach every households with life-saving vaccine during the first nationwide campaign this year. Despite harsh weather, with the support of the parents, partners and security forces, the programme has managed to implement the campaign successfully,” he said.

“We will continue putting our efforts and energy until Pakistan is free from the polio virus. I urge the parents to prioritize their children’s vaccination against polio in the upcoming campaigns this year,” he added.

The next nationwide anti-polio drive has been planned in March 2021.

Polio in Pakistan

• Pakistan is one of only two countries in the world, along with Afghanistan, where polio is endemic

• A total of 84 polio cases have been reported in 2020 so far while the total number of cases reported in 2019 cases remains 147

• Polio is a highly-infectious, disabling and sometimes fatal disease

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