98 percent targets of polio vaccination drive achieved

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ISLAMABAD, Dec 05 (DNA): Polio Eradication Initiative (PEI) on Saturday
said that 98 percent targets have been achieved from the five-day
national polio immunization drive.

According to an official of Polio Eradication Initiative, the
immunization drive was started on November 30 to vaccinate over 39
million children under the age of five years across the country.

He added around 285,000 polio frontline workers visited house-to-house,
observing strict SOPs for COVID-19, to ensure protection of children
from the crippling polio virus.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, National Health Services,
Regulations and Coordination, Dr Faisal Sultan said, “The government is
committed to make Pakistan Polio-free. We are determined to close the
immunity gap in children which had unfortunately widened because of
disruption of essential services due to COVID-19 pandemic.”

He said, “Ensuring timely and repeated vaccination of children is
critical for us to reduce the immunity gap and protect them against
polio.”

Dr Faisal said, “I am confident, together we will achieve our target of
making a safer, healthier and polio-free Pakistan for our children.”

During the campaign, the trained polio frontline workers reached every
child with essential polio vaccine while adhering to strict COVID-19
standard operating procedures such as wearing mask, using hand
sanitizer, and maintaining at least minimum distance during vaccination.

“While continuing our efforts to enhance essential immunization coverage
across, the back-to-back planned immunization campaigns are imperative
to give quick immunity boost to children under the age of five,” said Dr
Rana Muhammad Safdar, Coordinator of the National Emergency Operations
Centre, Polio Eradication Initiative (PEI).

“We need to ensure that no child is missed during this critical national
immunization campaign aimed to build on successful immunity building
efforts during last three months.”

Rana Safdar said that all segments of society including communities,
media, religious leaders, social activists, celebrities and doctors
should play active role so that no child remains at risk of contracting
polio disease and getting paralyzed for life.

He said that Pakistan was one of the two polio-endemic countries in the
world along with its neighbour Afghanistan. The country is facing a
challenging situation in polio eradication with the upsurge of the
number of polio cases.

He added so far in current year, a total of 82 polio cases have been
reported including 24 from Balochistan, 22 each from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
and Sindh, and 14 from Punjab. He said that Polio was a highly
infectious disease caused by polio-virus mainly affecting children under
the age of five years.

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.

He said that each time a child under the age of five is vaccinated,
their protection against the virus is increased while repeated
immunizations have protected millions of children from polio, allowing
almost all countries in the world to become polio free. DNA

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