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More than 40 million children received vaccination during nationwide anti-polio vaccination drive

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Islamabad, January 19, 2021: A nationwide anti-polio vaccination drive has concluded successfully; more than 40 million under-five-year old children received vaccination and around 32 million children (6-59 months) were given vitamin A supplementation during the campaign. A force of 287,000 frontline Polio workers was deployed across the country for door-to-door vaccination following the strict standard operating procedure (SOP) in the context of COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our fight against the 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 lifesaving 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,” said Dr. Rana Muhammad Safdar, the Director General (Health) and National Coordinator for the Polio Eradication Initiative and EPI. “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 emphasized.

Pakistan is facing a challenging situation in polio eradication with the upsurge of the number of polio cases in the previous year; however, the resumption of polio campaigns amid current COVID-19 situation has been a significant accomplishment. A total of 84 polio cases have been reported in the country.

The programme takes all-out efforts to ensure essential immunization, deliver integrated services to underserved communities, and coordinate with Afghanistan for synergy in campaigns and operations to manage the spread of the poliovirus across the shared epidemiological block.

Through its highly committed frontline workers, support of partners and various stakeholders, the programme will aim to restrict the geographic scope of polio circulation to historically reservoir areas and get closer to eradicating Polio in 2021.

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

Note for Editor:

Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by poliovirus mainly affecting children under the age of five years. It invades the nervous system and can cause paralysis or even death. While there is no cure for polio, vaccination is the most effective way to protect children from this crippling disease. Each time a child under the age of five is vaccinated, their protection against the virus is increased. Repeated immunisations have protected millions of children from polio, allowing almost all countries in the world to become polio-free.

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Mr. Zulfiqar Babakhel, Media Manager, NEOC, 0345-9165937

Email: zababakhel@gmail.com