ISLAMABAD: Reaffir­ming Pakistan’s resolve to protect all children from the disability-causing poliovirus, the health ministry on Sunday launched the second nationwide polio vaccination campaign of the year.

The campaign will formally start from today (Monday), aiming to vaccinate over 45.8 million children under the age of five.

The campaign, starting from today, will end on March 3 in most of the areas of the country, and in 33 districts of KP from March 2 to March 6. Children will also be given Vitamin A supplements to boost their immunity.

“Polio is a terrible disease that has no cure and can leave children paralysed for life. It is unfortunate that it continues to be a threat to our children because some people refuse to vaccinate children based on misconceptions and false information about the vaccine,” Federal Secretary for Health Iftikhar Ali Shallwani said after administering polio drops to children.

He added that while the government remained strongly committed to ending polio in Pakistan and was making great progress, decision makers, parents and caregivers also have a huge responsibility for ensuring their children’s well-being.

In a special message directed to parents and caregivers, the health secretary emphasised, “Polio vaccinators will be delivering this vital vaccine to your doorsteps. I implore you to recognise the threat posed by the poliovirus to your children and ensure that you open your doors to facilitate their vaccination.”

This marks the second consecutive nationwide campaign of the year following the detection of the poliovirus in sewage samples from 19 districts in January and in 126 sewage samples in 2023. The first campaign of 2024 was held from January 8 to 14, during which 43m children were vaccinated.

Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2024

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