First drive of polio-high risk season begins on Monday
By Our Staff Reporter
LAHORE: Sehat Muhafiz polio eradication teams of Health Department Punjab will visit house-to-house to vaccinate nearly 1.7 million children less than five years in three districts of Punjab in a campaign starting from Monday, July 2.
Punjab’s Director General Health Services and coordinator of the Emergency Operations Centre for polio eradication and routine immunization Dr. Munir Ahmad emphasized the need for all children to be immunized during every round of immunization campaign days.
“Multiple doses of polio vaccine are required for a child to be fully protected – sometimes more than ten. Each additional dose further strengthens a child’s immunity level against polio. Parents who do not ensure vaccination of their children are risking health and lives of their own children as well as others around them,” said Dr. Munir.
“As long as the virus is being detected anywhere in the country, no child is safe from being infected. Any child with low immunity will be where the virus will find refuge. We need to ensure all our children are vaccinated with two drops, every time the vaccine is offered. Parents and caregivers must also make their children fully vaccinated for all antigens.” “The districts include DG Khan, Rajanpur, and 163 union councils of Rawalpindi,” Dr. Munir Ahmad said. Ahead of the campaign, which is the first in polio high-risk season, the Punjab Emergency Operations Centre for polio eradication assures parents that polio vaccine is safe, efficacious, and approved by the government’s drug regulatory authorities, the coordinator added.
Punjab completed 2016 without a polio case. But a four-month child from Lodhran ended Punjab’s streak of 14 months without a case in 2017. In 2018, no polio case has been reported in Punjab.
Since 2014 there has been an overall 97% reduction in polio cases in Pakistan: from 306 cases in 2014 to 8 in 2017. This year only three polio cases have been reported from Dukki, Balochistan.
Globally, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are the three countries still having polio cases. Dr Munir Ahmed stressed upon parents to call 0800-99000 helpline in case of any suggestions or complaints.