Nationwide anti-polio drive starts today


An anti-polio vaccination campaign to immunize more than 21 million children under the age of five will kick off in Sindh and Punjab today March 13. The five-day vaccination campaign is being held in two phases due to the concurring activities of the seventh national census. In the first phase, over 17.41 million children under the age of five in 13 districts of Punjab and 16 districts of Sindh and Islamabad will be vaccinated from March 13 to March 17.

The second phase will be held from April 3 to 7 during the second week of Ramadan to vaccinate children in 12 districts of Balochistan and 26 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, including the seven endemic districts in the southern region of the province. Federal Minister for Health Abdul Qadir Patel urged parents and caregivers to ensure that their children receive the life-saving polio vaccine so that they remain protected from poliovirus, which has been found circulating in environmental samples.

“The presence of wild polio in the environment shows that the virus is circulating in our communities and posing a serious risk to our children,” said Abdul Qadir Patel. “With Ramadan and Eid around the corner, population movements can increase the risk of further spread, therefore, it is critical that parents and caregivers vaccinate their children in this and every campaign,” said the Minister. “We have specifically designed this March campaign to reach areas where population movement is not just frequent but also expected during Ramadan and Eid festival,” said Dr Shahzad Baig, National Emergency Operations Center.