6.7m children to be vaccinated in anti-polio drive starting tomorrow

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Around 6.7 million children under five years of age will be given oral polio vaccine (OPV) drops during a seven-day vaccination drive in Sindh, officials said, adding that campaign would be launched in 21 districts of the province.

“The Emergency Operation Centre for polio in Sindh will launch a polio campaign from 24th to 30th October 2022, as part of the Sub-National Immunisation days, to give oral polio drops to around 6.7 million children under 5 years of age in the Sindh province. The campaign will be held in 21 districts of Sindh inclusive of all districts of Karachi with a target of more than 2.4 million children,” an official of Polio Eradication Initiative (PEI) said. Sindh has not reported a single case of polio since July 2020 and environment samples were positive in August 2022.

The province conducted an additional campaign in high-risk pockets of Karachi and the environment become negative again, which is good for the programme and for the future of the children of Pakistan.

“If we continue with the same momentum, we will further see significant results, but we shouldn’t be complacent and continue the efforts till we fully eradicate the virus from every corner of the country,” the official said.

The official added that in addition to dealing with the pandemic, there is a need to deal with childhood immunisation to prevent childhood diseases, and the benefits of vaccination are clear as frequent campaigns have significantly reduced the burden of polio across the country. “Children can be saved from childhood diseases like polio, measles, typhoid etc through vaccination and we seek the media’s help to raise awareness regarding this.”

Pakistan is one of the two polio-endemic countries in the world along with Afghanistan and has so far reported a total of 20 polio case in 2022 — all from South KP. The Pakistan Pediatric Association, Pakistan Medical Islamic Medical Association, medical experts across the world, as well as prominent religious scholars in Pakistan and across the region endorse the oral polio vaccine as the safest and most effective for not only preventing polio but also eradicating it from the environment. During the August 22 polio campaign, we received more than 99.9 percent coverage.

 

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