The restriction on polio vaccination activities due to COVID-19 has ended and polio vaccination activities have started from today on a small scale.
After 4 months of suspension of polio vaccination activities, a small scale anti-polio campaign has resumed from today. It was decided on the 17th of July to resume the polio eradication activities in the country.
There would be the door to door campaigns in order to create awareness regarding coronavirus preventive measures also for pregnancy care services for children and Mother.
As many as 260,000 children under the age of five years would be vaccinated during the small-scale polio vaccination campaign in the areas chosen in Karachi including Baldia, Orangi, Liaquatabad, North Nazimabad, and SITE towns, said officials of the Poli Eradication Initiative (PEI) on Sunday.
As Polio vaccination activities resume over 800,000 children will be vaccinated
Anti-polio campaign will then be expanded to Faisalabad, South Waziristan, Attock, and some parts of Quetta with the target of vaccinating almost 800,000 children under the age of five years. After covering these areas, other areas will be headed to cover. Special vaccination campaigns would be launched in 10 union councils where 110,000 children would be administered polio drops.
According to the statement, under the supervision of the Ministry of Health and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative guidelines and Polio Oversight Board commendations, the country’s polio eradication programme was suspended in the last week of March as the coronavirus pandemic spread.
“The provisions of essential vaccines to around 700,000 newborns per month were seriously affected while the suspension of the door to door polio vaccination activities also widened immunity gap among vulnerable children significantly diluting the gains made during December 2019 to March 2020 as the programme was recovering from the 2019 crisis. The country is, thus, facing widespread circulation of WPV1 and cVDPV2 [vaccine derived polio virus] with heightened risks across Pakistan,” it states.
Dr. Zafar Mirza Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health said, “The impact of Covid-19 on our economy and communities is unprecedented. With the disruption of essential immunization services due to the Covid-19 pandemic, children are continuously at a higher risk of contracting polio and other vaccine-preventable diseases,”
Furthermore, he said that door to door campaigns will be utilized to raise awareness on coronavirus.
Read about WHO extends travel restrictions for Pakistan and the reason is poliovirus here