Nationwide anti-polio drive kicks off today

Govt aims to vaccinate 39.5 million children across the country


​ Our Correspondent December 15, 2019
Govt aims to vaccinate 39.5 million children across the country. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The government is starting an anti-polio drive from Monday (today) aiming to vaccinate 39.5 million children across the country.

Over 260,000 polio workers will go door-to-door from December 16 to 20 to ensure that all children up till the age of five are vaccinated against the crippling disease.

“We have engaged all stakeholders to ensure the success of the campaign, said National Emergency Operations Centre Coordinator Dr Rana Muhammad Safdar.

“It’s possible for Pakistan to eradicate polio with the support of the community. I urge all parents and caregivers to ensure their children are vaccinated," he added.

The official said if any child missed out on the vaccination during the campaign, their parents could request to receive it.

He said the Pakistan Polio Eradication Initiative had started the Sehat Tahhafuz Helpline to assist the reporting of children missed out during the immunisation campaign.

“Parents and caregivers can contact Sehat Tahhafuz Helpline at 1166 and inform the authorities about the missed out children."

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The official said polio was a highly infectious disease caused by polio virus mainly affecting children up till the age of five. “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 up till the age of five is vaccinated, their protection against the virus increases,” he explained.

“Repeated vaccination has protected millions of children from polio, allowing almost all countries in the world to become polio free.

Special Assistant to the PM on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Dr Zafar Mirza assured parents that the vaccine was completely safe and it was essential to immunise children to protect them against polio.

“Pakistan is one of the only two countries in the world, alongside Afghanistan, where polio virus continues to circulate actively,” he noted.

“There is a strong national and international commitment to eradicate polio and it is a collective responsibility to ensure that all children are vaccinated.

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