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Pakistan Starts First Polio Vaccine Campaign of 2021

The national polio immunization drive will last for five days and aims to vaccinate over 40 million children under the age of five across Pakistan. 

A supplementary dose of Vitamin A drops will also be administered to children aged 6 to 59 months.

Around 285,000 polio front line workers will visit parents and caregivers at their doorstep adhering to strict COVID-19 precautionary measures and protocols while vaccinating children, The Newsreported. 

They will wear a mask, use hand sanitiser and maintaining a safe distance.

“Our aim is to ensure timely and repeated vaccination of children. This is key to reduce the immunity gap and to protect our children against polio and other diseases,” said Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr Faisal Sultan.

A polio-free Pakistan

He said the government is committed to reaching the goal of a polio-free Pakistan and called for support parents and caregivers of children under the age of five years.

He said 2021 presents a unique opportunity to leverage the gains made in 2020, which included the implementation of six high-quality campaigns by front line workers who defied the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Essential immunisation coverage will also be looked into apart from conducting polio campaigns. 

“Repeated campaigns are imperative to give a quick immunity boost to children under five,” said Dr Rana Muhammad Safdar, the director-general of health and coordinator of the National Emergency Operations Centre, Polio Eradication Initiative (PEI). 

He said the programme aims to restrict the geographic scope of polio virus circulation to the high-risk areas only and get closer to the goal of eradication in 2021.

With 82 cases in 2020, Pakistan is one of the two polio-endemic countries in the world along with its neighbour Afghanistan.

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