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November 30, 2020

Third nationwide polio vaccination drive launched

Islamabad

November 30, 2020

Islamabad : Planned in synchronization with Afghanistan, a five-day national polio immunization drive commences today (Monday) to vaccinate over 39 million Pakistani children under the age of five against the crippling virus. Around 285,000 frontline workers will visit house-to-house, observing strict SOPs for COVID-19, for successful conduct of the campaign.

“We are determined to close the immunity gap in children which had unfortunately widened because of disruption of essential services due to COVID-19. Ensuring timely and repeated vaccination of children is critical for us to reduce the immunity gap. I urge all parents and caregivers to ensure that their children are vaccinated during the campaign as well as in routine,” said Dr. Faisal Sultan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services, at the inauguration of the campaign. Trained frontline workers will reach every child with essential polio vaccine while adhering to strict COVID-19 SOPs.

“While continuing our efforts to enhance essential immunization coverages across, back-to-back planned immunization campaigns are imperative to give quick immunity boost to children under the age of five,” said Dr. Rana Muhammad Safdar, Coordinator of the National Emergency Operations Centre.

“We need to ensure that no child is missed during this critical national campaign aimed to build on successful immunity building efforts during last 3 months. I urge every Pakistani to take it as a national mission and support the frontline workers who will reach every child with essential polio vaccine during the week. All segments of society including communities, media, religious leaders, social activists, celebrities, and doctors should play an active role so that no child remains at risk of contracting polio disease and getting paralyzed for life,” Dr Rana said. Pakistan is one of the two polio-endemic countries in the world along with its neighbour Afghanistan. The country is facing a challenging situation with an upsurge in polio cases. So far in the current year, 82 polio cases have been reported including 24 from Balochistan, 22 each from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh, and 14 from Punjab.