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Polio vaccination drive begins in 51 districts

Updated February 19, 2019

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FAISALABAD: A lady health worker administers polio drops to a child on Monday.—APP
FAISALABAD: A lady health worker administers polio drops to a child on Monday.—APP

ISLAMABAD: The special response round of the polio campaign started in 51 selected districts of the country on Monday. During the campaign, as many as 13.32 million children will be vaccinated.

“It is a special campaign and only those districts have been included in it in which either polio cases were reported or presence of the virus of the crippling disease was observed in sewage water. Moreover, it has been decided to use Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) in specific areas of three core reservoirs: Kara­chi, Quetta and Peshawar,” the Coordinator, National Emergency Operations Cen­tre, Dr Rana Muhammad Safdar told Dawn.

In reply to a question, Dr Safdar said that though children up to five years of age would be vaccinated, in 16 union councils (UCs) of Rawalpinid, the age limit has been enhanced to 10 years due to which around 88,000 more children would be vaccinated in those UCs.

“Over 10m children will be targeted with only oral polio vaccine (OPV). However in Karachi (10 towns), Quetta (3 districts) and Peshawar, along with OPV, IPV will also be administered to 2.97 million children aged between 4 to 59 months,” he said.

113.3 million children will be administered vaccination drops during the campaign

The OPV is a vaccine in which live but weak polio viruses are given to a child and they remove the risk of virus transfer from one child to another. The IPV are dead viruses which are injected in the body and they remove chances of the disease to a child who receives the IPV.

Dr Safdar said that of 192 UCs, in 100 UCs of Karachi, IPV would be administered, adding that IPV would also be administrated in three districts of Quetta, Pishin and Killa Abdullah.

“It will be a three-day campaign plus one to two catch up days elsewhere and five to six days campaign plus two days catch up in the core reservoir districts and in other high-risk areas. In Peshawar and Quetta, it is 10 and 12 days’ campaign respectively,” he said.

A total of around 90,000 personnel will strive to achieve the set targets across the country.

“The campaign is synchronised with Afghanistan to ensure vaccination of all children on the move as well. Considering its significance, the National EOC has deployed 60 experts to facilitate preparedness and ground implementation of campaign activities by local teams in these priority areas,” Dr Safdar said.

Published in Dawn, February 19th, 2019